Tai Chi-Qigong & Fascial Fitness: Say No to Neanderthal Neck & Quasimodo Crunch!

So you just realized you have the incipient signs of the dreaded and deadly "computer slouch syndrome" that is reversing the evolution of homo sapiens and sending our once-noble human profile back to cave man status. Say hello in the mirror to homo neanderthalensis!

                                               Neanderthal Neck           Normal Neck Posture

Before it's too late, start doing some Tai Chi-Qigong exercises NOW that will help restore your physique to the Greek god-goddess you were intended to be!

Take a look at this picture of me with the lines drawn on my body that identify what Thomas Myers (super-guru of fascial fitness) describes as the Superficial Front Line (SFL).

The two lines (A) that begin at the center front attach to the pubic bone and travel up just inside the collar bone through the SCM (sternoceidomastoid) muscle (B) and lead on up to attach behind and below the ear (C). We will deal later with the two lines that run down the legs.

In a previous post I described the ravages that occur when this front line gets habitually squashed down by computer slouch. In summary, squashing inhibits most vital human functions. When these upper lines are pulled taut by chronic postural collapse, the result is Neanderthal Neck (photos above) and what I call the Quasimodo Crunch  (think Hunchback of Notre Dame).

Quasimodo Crunch (QC)

More fun facts:

  • For every inch your head posture sits forward there is an increased weight bearing load of 10 pounds, forcing the neck to work harder to keep the chin from dropping onto your chest. Think about wearing a bowling ball around your neck all the time, and you get the idea.
  • In worst case scenarios, the load bearing can increase by up to 70 pounds!
  • Increased pressure on the nerves at the base of the skull can cause headache, shoulder ache and reduced nerve transmission.
  • Abnormal neck posture is sometimes associated with eye and ear problems; just think about how Neanderthal Neck tends to force the eyes to turn chronically upward to see out toward the front. The cave man was better equipped than we are for this visual perspective because his nice sloping forehead didn't get so much in the way of his view. The downside of course was the smaller brain!
  • Stiff neck from head drop can decrease the ability to rotate the neck, making Neanderthal types a safety hazard while driving.
  • The Quasimodo Crunch can reduce lung capacity by up to 30%.
  • The Quasimodo Crunch squeezes the major organs, inhibiting circulation and cleansing in all of the major organs.
  • Can you imagine what this pose does for your bowels?! 

Now we are talking real health problems--not to mention public safety!

Here is a very simple exercise you can do throughout the day to counteract Neanderthal Neck and Quasimodo Crunch.

The Turtle

This is one of my favorite movements, imitating the turtle going in and out of its shell. Don't let the simplicity fool you! It is very ancient and very powerful, really working that front fascial line and counteracting Neanderthal Neck!

                   A                                                                    B                                                                     C

               D                                                                E                                                                    F

.                                                     G                                                                  H

A. Beginning: Begin the series with position A. Be sure to get in a good Tai Chi posture.

B. Chin down: Inhale and draw the chin down to touch the chest, arching the back of the neck. Bring the hands up under the chin.

C. Extend Upward: Exhale and very slowly extend the hands downward toward the crotch at the same time you lift the chin up high with the mouth closed. This will give a nice stretch along the front line. Turn the eyes upward as high as possible to extend the stretch even more and exercise the eyes. Repeat at least 3 times.

D. Chin down: Inhale and slowly return to the Chin Down position.

E. Extend upward right: Exhale and extend slowly upward to one side. Keep the mouth closed as you extend and look far up to the right with your eyes. Press as far downward with the hands as possible. You will feel the stretch under the chin and on the SCM muscle on the side. Repeat at least 3 times.

D. Chin down: Inhale and slowly return to the Chin Down position. 

E. Extend upward left: Exhale and extend slowly upward to the other side. Keep the mouth closed as you extend and look far up to the left with your eyes. Press as far downward as possible. You will feel the stretch under the chin and on the SCM muscle on the side. Repeat at least 3 times.

Seated or standing: This movement can be done seated or standing. If seated, open the legs wide to allow the hands to push down. 

Breathing relieves stress. Doing deep breathing as you inhale down and exhale on the upward stretch is a great stress reliever, slowing down the respiration and lowering the stress hormones.

Repeat often throughout the day: This movement can and should be done throughout the day for a quick refresher and powerful NO to Neanderthal Neck!

Let's keep evolving the human race forward, not backward!

Keep the chin up!


All rights reserved by Anna York, 2016

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