Suspending the crown

forward neck alignmentSuspending the crown is one of the 13 points used to harmonize the body.  It's a standard cue for teaching body alignments.  Why is suspending the crown important?  There are several reasons for suspending the crown.

The first reason is that your head is, roughly speaking, a 10-12 lb round object balanced on the seven verterbrae of the cervical spine.  Suspending the crown is in effect finding a balance point to stack up neck verterbrae in a neutral position over the rest of the spine.  If the head drifts out of alignment, the stacking of the structure gets shifted.  This in turn alters the center of gravity over the feet.  If the crown is not suspended, balance is affected and quite possibly the torso and hip alignment is thrown off to compensate for the head drifting off neutral.

Similar to the center of gravity in the feet minimizing the body tension needed to stand upright, suspending the crown minimizes the amount of effort needed to support the head.  For every inch the head drifts forward, the effective force experienced by the musculature supporting the head increases 10 pounds.  The further off neutral the head goes, the harder the neck and upper back muscles have to work just to keep the head up.

Another reason for maintaining a neutral head position is for optimal neural response.  The arthrokinetic reflex is a factor for consideration; action at a joint can cause muscle activation or inhibition.  In the case of head positioning, putting kinks into neck joints inhibits muscular power in the posterior chain.  One explanation for this arthrokinetic response is that putting the head alignment off neutral can align the vertabrae in such a way to stretch/pinch/kink the nerves originating from the verterbrae; the kinked nerves effectively provide feedback information that the joint is not in a safe position for force generation and shut off the surrounding muscles.

Keeping the crown suspended has a myriad of effects on the body.  Head positioning affects balance, body alignment, muscular tension, and muscular power.