“Relax your Neck, Liberate your Shoulders” by Eric Franklin

Recommended to me by: a friend who spends a lot of time at the computer.

The book begins, “[M]y head was balancing on a completely loose neck. It actually felt as if it was free of gravity and it was a pleasure to turn my head since my neck felt so supple, my shoulders were light as flufffed feathers, and my breathing was free and deep.”

I would love to feel that way!

The book offers playful exercises and imagery, as well as detailed anatomical drawings to help reach that desired state. The core approach of the Franklin Method is to regain awareness, balance, and relaxation from the inside, rather than impose it externally or forcefully.

One of the exercises: Imagine a tiny balloon at the back of your neck, supporting your skull, and at the same time let your jaw hang down. To me, the feeling of support is palpable, and my shoulders drop away from my ears.

The anatomical information is helpful as well. For example, when a muscle contracts, the long chains of proteins do not curl or bunch up – they slide past each other like the teeth of two intertwined combs. It is much easier for me to envision muscle fibers sliding apart than it is to “relax” or “let go.”

I will continue to use the exercises in my quest for a completely loose neck, and I’ll incorporate the new knowledge into my bodywork practice as well.

Available at Powell’s Books.

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