How Do You Release The Jaw?

Some tips from a FB thread of Alexander Technique teachers:

* I’ve heard things like free, releasing away from the skull, down and away…

* The head’s going forward and up is preventive of it’s going back and down to compress the spine. The jaw’s tracking forward and open—easily, finding it’s own way— is preventive of its going back and down.

* Some teachers suggested thinking of the letter ‘K’ with the jaw freeing in the forward and down direction.

* That jaw releasing back can be cause for snoring as it closes the vocal tract. I think that back is a dangerous word in talking about the jaw, just as it is when talking about the head’s relationship to the torso.

* In my experience, when we go into more of a “primary curve” (spinal flexion) the jaw releases forward, and in “secondary curve” (spinal extension) it goes back. If your dad’s jaw is releasing back when he falls asleep perhaps it’s because he’s also pulling his head back during sleep… but then again, I could be wrong. On another note, to release my jaw I like thinking of my lower back molars on the jaw bone (wisdom teeth if you have them) and thinking them heavier than the rest. I find this gives me a nice release without any extraneous “doing” on my part.

* I believe the jaw is a gliding, sliding joint, not a hinge.

* I just say, “Let your back bottom teeth release away from your back top teeth.” In other words, “Let your jaw yield to gravity.” Now, as far as the mapping goes, make sure your students don’t have an idea that they have a “hand puppet” mouth. Also, I give directions for the tongue before directions for the jaw. A lot of people habitually press their tongues to the roof of the mouth, creating tension in both the tongue and the jaw.

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