The Neck and Throat
Often seen as the seat of expression, the energetic openness of the throat center can determine if we’re living life as our true self or hiding with things unsaid. If the throat is blocked, it can be hard for us to speak our truth and we mask our authentic selves. People that open their power of expression can excel in politics, business, and social favor. We can mask our true self, but only so long, and the stuck energy will come out sideways somewhere else in our physical body or psychology.
The neck and throat can be a narrow bottleneck. It is a major pathway of most of the systems of the body. The respiratory, nervous, circulatory, digestive, and lymphatic systems all pass through the neck. If we get stressed, the neck gets tense, the jaw can clinch, we grind our teeth in our sleep, and we get a stiff neck. The burden of the neck and cervical vertebrae can be compounded by leaning forward to read a computer screen or to navigate traffic.
Thankfully, Taoist traditions of self-care have some suggestions. In meditation, we can smile to our throat and feel the tension melting—like the ice of a glacier in the summer sun. We can see the thyroid gland open like a flower petal. In movement, there are chi kung movements called crane neck and turtle neck that move the vertebrae and loosen them in all directions. Standing exercises like Iron Shirt Chi Kung and I-Chuan lengthen the spine, improve the alignment of the structure, and relax the muscles of the neck.