How to adjust your own Atlas vertebra

This is a great technique from Saul Goodman which I use myself. It’s a gentle, but very effective treatment for neck pain and restricted neck mobility from a misaligned Atlas vertebra. It’s also helpful if you’re feeling overwhelmed with too much to ‘do’ or you just can’t get on and complete things.

The technique is taught in more detail on the Shiatsu ShinTai Governing Vessel & Spine course, but here is a simple version you can try yourself.

The atlas, or 1st cervical vertebrae, has a natural movement that can become restricted or unbalanced. When it is functioning optimally, it moves in an horizontal infinity pattern, gently reverberating this rhythmic movement throughout your spine. In Shin Tai work, there is a correspondence between stress in the atlas and being projected into the future/having a fear of the future.

Lay on your back and lightly touch each side of your atlas, directly under the mastoid process. Enjoy the side to side sway of its subtle motion, noticing restriction or asymmetrical movement. Encourage more symmetry and freedom of movement with your intention – don’t apply more pressure!  Pay attention to sensations in your body.  Feel for a softening of any rigid sensation in the atlas, and/or for the shape and movement to become more clear.  Do this for 5-10 minutes.

After treating yourself, notice changes in your feelings, mental state, and physical condition throughout the next day or two.

I often use this technique when I’m lying in bed unable to sleep, thinking of everything I have to do! Give it a try and let me know how you get on!