Cantare Studio

THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE

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Axis and Appendicular Systems

Posted on Wednesday, May 04, 2016 by Marieke Schuurs

Axis and Appendicular – one of the ways to think about how you move is to identify the Axis muscle system and the Appendicular muscle system.  The axis muscles support the movement of your head, spine and ribcage for balance and breathing.  They are generally smaller muscles, run vertically through your core (core muscles), and do not give much kinesthetic feedback (we don’t feel them working).  In contrast, the Appendicular muscles are larger, mainly horizontal muscles that wrap around the axis, designed to move our appendages (arms and legs).  Because arm and leg movement is usually voluntary, these appendicular muscles have lots of nerves going to them so that we can feel them moving (kinesthesia).

Think about your axis system for a moment, running up and down through the core of you.  Encourage this system to be free and buoyant.  Notice whether the axis system maintains freedom when you walk or lift something.  Or do you tighten down the axis system as a part of your movement?  Try moving both ways, tightened down or buoyant – how does that change the movement, especially at the joints?

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