This is one of the most common instructions recommended to fix neck and back tension. “Tuck the chin so you can lengthen the back of your neck”. “Tuck your pelvis so you can lengthen your lower back”. ” Tilt is another word for it. “Tilt your head back to open your chest” etc…
Are you familiar with these tucking instructions? Do you find them helpful for every part of your body or just to give you a sense you are giving it your very best?
These instructions may not be as helpful as they may seem or as they may feel in the moment! Why? Because when you rely on this approach, you are going for band-aid solutions prescribed by your educated mind trying to make things better without having the big picture.
The consequence of this approach is that whether you tuck your chin down and your pelvis under, or you suck your belly in and you spread your feet flat on the ground, you are interfering with the natural functioning of your whole-body intelligence blocking your energy with every adjustment you make.
So when your teacher concludes the instructions by saying, “then make sure you are breathing and remain relaxed”, it is not really possible to have a full breath and flexible muscles with all that muscular engaging and holding in a specific posture. So you may release 10% of your perceived tension which makes you think you are relaxed when in reality, you only took the edge of tension away.
Tucking is not serving you as you may think. It only promotes the feeling each body part is separate from the rest of your body when in fact the muscular tension in your tucked pelvis is somewhat spreading through your body from head to toes.
And tucking your pelvis back is part of arching your back and lifting your chest. Tucking your pelvis in is part of rounding your back and shoulders.
Learning to activate your postural mechanism allows you to practice yoga in a way that makes all your body parts work together harmoniously, along with your mind and body cooperating instead of at odds with each other from a lack of deep communication.
Yoga is not about “Separateness” but about “Union”.
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Cecile Raynor has been teaching the Alexander Technique for over 25 years out of which came her B.I.A. Process to assist yogis enhance their practice bypassing the intellect. She is also a Thai Yoga Massage Therapist and a Reiki Practitioner. Faculty at Akasha Yoga Teacher Training, she runs a 12 months Mastermind for Yoga Teachers with a Vision, and a 90 Day Virtual Program for trainees, new teachers and committed yoga practitioners interested in using their body more efficiently on and off the mat in a way not taught in regular training courses. She is currently writing a book on her personal and professional experience to be published this year with Bliss-life Press, San Diego California.