Ideal Shoulder/Neck Function. How do I achieve this?

Prone Head Lift with Ideal Trunk Stability (Picture from

How do I approach training my body in a way that will serve me for the long term?

The answer lies in looking at the nature of development, and how we came to upright in the first 15 months of life.  This unfolding happened as a result of a maturing brain/CNS.  The baby wasn’t instructed as to how to roll, crawl, sit and stand, therefore it lies outside the realm of opinion, as to how it should happen!

At 4.5 months the position and shape of the spine, chest and pelvis reaches a neutral position, as a result of coordinated muscle activity.

In the example being shown here, the baby lifts its head away from the floor via well balanced activity between deep neck flexors and spinal extensors to stabilise the cervical and upper thoracic region.

Neck extension originates from the T4 segment, therefore it is a cooperation of upper thoracic segments with cervical spine.

Coaching Prone Head Lift

  1. Lie on your front with the crease of the elbow at eye level with the forearms slightly in.
  2. Start to widen slightly at the forearms, feel as though the back ribs are going away from the width, as you lift and lengthen the head-neck away.
  3. Gently expand your belly into the floor, while lengthening your spine and bringing the chest position in the direction of the sacrum.  The informational support zones for the posture are the medial epicondyles of each elbow and the pubic symphysis.  These 3 points represent an inverted equilateral triangle.  Feel as though the elbows are widening away from each other and that the symphysis is pressing into the floor via activation of intra-abdominal pressure (IAP).  It is essential that you do not posteriorly rotate the pelvis in order to achieve pubis push.
  4. Reach into the crown of the head and feel as though the head is in the beginning of a nod, as you lift and lengthen your head/neck.
  5. Externally rotate the humerus and widen from neck, to fixate your scapula on the rib wall and bring the shoulder blades down towards back pockets.

This is my favourite feedback rich posture from the DNS system and I always find it ironic, in that, in order to lift my head away from the floor, that I need stability at the base of the pelvis via the push of the pubis.  For me it reinforces the importance of the crown of the head over pelvic floor.

Enjoy your practice and see you at one of my DNS Movement/Yoga classes!

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