The cervical spine should hold its natural curve with the skull balancing directly
above the shoulders when sitting in neutral. This position should also be
maintained when lying on the back. If there is a kyphosis or forward head
posture, pads or pillows under the head may be necessary to support the
head, and prevent overextension and unnecessary tension in the cervical spine.
In most instances, the cervical spine should continue the line created by
the thoracic spine in neutral, or during flexion, extension, lateral flexion
Cervical flexion should begin with a slight head nod, referred to as craniovertebral
flexion. Avoid jamming the chin into the chest. There should be
enough room between chin and chest to fit a small fist. Once cranio-vertebral
flexion and scapular stabilization are established, the upper torso can be
flexed by contracting the abdominals to slide the rib cage toward the pelvis.
When flexing the upper torso, focus on creating an even flexion through
the thoracic and cervical spine.
When extending the upper torso, focus on creating an even extension through
the thoracic and cervical spine. Avoid creating overextension and compression
in the cervical area.
Experimenting with head and cervical placement
Start supine, with pelvis and spine neutral. Knees flexed, feet abducted
hip-distance apart on the Mat. Arms long by sides, palms down.
Cranio-Vertebral Flexion (also known as Head Nods)
|Inhale ||Drop eye focus slightly, tipping head forward. Leave head on the Mat. |
|Exhale ||Return to neutral. |
Modified Abdominal Preparation
| Inhale || Lengthen back of neck. |
|Exhale || While maintaining length through back of neck, stabilize scapulae,
then flex thoracic spine. |
Maintain neutral pelvis throughout the exercise, ensuring engagement of
| Inhale || Hold flexion by maintaining abdominal contraction while back and
sides of rib cage expand. Maintain length in back of neck. |
| Exhale ||Return upper body to the Mat, allowing cervical spine to return to
neutral once head is on the Mat. |
Neutral cervical alignment
Correct upper body flexion
Overextension of cervical
Correct upper body extension