S1:E7 | The Earth's Axis in the Body with Melanie Weller

Apr 01, 2022

[00:00:43.020] Welcome

[00:01:08.010] What an axis is in terms of movement and energetically

[00:01:58.490] Axis and our joints

[00:03:08.580] How our body axis relates to the Earth’s axis

[00:04:43.420] Relationship between stress and our axis

[00:06:13.470] Tension and injury

[00:06:31.120] The story of Atlas & Axis (Heroics vs Desires)

[00:09:15.400] How you can test your own axis

You can contact Melanie or find out more about how she can help you by going to her website www.melanieweller.com




How do you fine tune your body to fine tune your voice to convey what you're you might not understand, but your heart does?

I am your host, Melanie Weller, today we're going to talk about axes. We're going to talk about our axis. We have many axes in the body, and we're going to talk about what an axis is and what that means in terms of movement, both physically cosmologically and energetically.


When we walk and we are rotating our trunks and swinging our arms, we are rotating around a vertical axis. An axis is a point around which a body rotates, so we're always rotating. Rotation when we get injured or stressed is the first thing that we give up. Nobody gets injured or traumatized and has beautiful arm swing when they walk, we all lock up, we all freeze up in our trunks. It's a very normal and appropriate reaction and it happens in part because trauma always affects the voice and the breath and our vocal cords and diaphragms are horizontally oriented in our bodies, so they're in that transfer plane that we're rotating on. And so when they get locked up, we don't rotate.


One of the reasons that in the body, the axis are really important is because they keep a joint centered. So, for example, the rotator cuffs job and the rotator cuff, it's a set of muscles in your shoulder. But  the rotator cuff's job is to keep your shoulder joint centered on its axis so the bigger muscles can move your arm. And if your smaller muscles, if your rotator cuff isn't doing its job (your rotator cuff is part of your smaller muscle system, your tonic muscles) then you end up moving the joint around an axis that it was not designed to move around. And you end up creating shearing forces, shearing you can think of as meaning things are pulling in opposite directions and it can create pinching where things get impinged in people with disc herniation. I've often explained that the spine has a central axis of rotation. And when that axis gets moved off center, then you get the shearing forces that result in the disc herniation. 


So the body, being on your axis is incredibly important. This axis concept is something that I really love to work with in the body, and I love the way that our axis in our body relate to the axis of the Earth. The Earth right now is at about a 23 and a half degree tilt and our vagus nerves exit the base of our skulls 23 and a half degrees from the center of our spinal cords exit. So if you're looking at the base of a skull with the jaw bone upward and drew a horizontal line through the frame and Magnum, which is where the spinal cord exits the base of the skull. So if that's your horizon, if you come up off the horizon 23 and a half degrees. In all of my anatomy books and in real skills, I've had the chance to see 23 and a half degrees crosses the jugular foramen - which is where the vagus nerve, as well as some other structures, exit the base of the skull.


So treating the base of the skull to give it more space and giving the vagus nerve more room to breathe is really powerful at putting people back on their axis, metaphorically.  I can't even count the number of times that I've done a technique to open up the jugular foramen at the base of the skull and changed people's foot and ankle range of motion, changed their knee pain, changed their hip pain. So it's a super powerful approach.


Later, I'm going to share how you can decompress your own vagus nerve at the jugular foramen. One of my mentors, Sharon Gia Matteo, taught that the underlying stress of shears in the body has to do with your relationship with yourself, that things are pulling in opposite directions because you're trying to get away from yourself, and that the shearing forces are not between two structures, but within one structure. She has a brilliant technique for correcting shearing forces in the spine.  I used it for years and years, and I do it differently now but Sharon's technique was certainly integral to getting me where I am now with that.


We're all guilty of trying to get away from ourselves, from our feelings at different times. To think that it's about the relationship between us and something outside of us versus the relationship between something inside of us. Even if it's inside of us to think about that, it's the relationship between two different things inside of us versus within one structure inside of us. So it's really important to be on your axis so that you aren't shearing your tissues that you aren't shearing. So you aren't creating tension in other aspects of your life and creating unnecessary tension.

I think that tension and injury are always opportunities to expand. And that the only reason any of us ever have any pain or limitations or limiting beliefs or trials and tribulations in life in the first place is that we're resisting our own expansion in an ever expanding universe.


Atlas & Axis: Our second cervical vertebra is referred to as the axis. The first cervical vertebra is the Atlas, and the second one is the Axis.  Atlas in mythology, for going to war against Zeus, was punished to holding up the celestial spheres. This is where we carry around the weight of the world on our shoulders. That metaphor certainly shows up as neck pain in patients, it can show up as vision impairments for example; seeing the forest through the trees or seeing the possibilities. It shows up where our heroics and our desires are at odds with each other. Those are really two, I'll call myself out on this, because those are two different aspects of ourselves. So when our heroics and our desires are at odds with each other it means when we're the hero in someone else's story or satisfying the desires of others - at the expense of our own.


When that happens, it impairs our vision, and we can't clearly see what to do. And that can show up quite literally physically in the neck, and it can just show up metaphorically with our inability to see possibilities. When these two things are at odds with each other, we are off. Our axis is not level. We don't have a level axis on which to rotate. And certainly we can even back that up and just think about different aspects of our inner hero and where they're at odds with each other and what being a hero means. I think about this a lot because my husband is a veteran, and I've worked with veterans in a number of different capacities.  I think it's going to be really important to redefine what a hero means. One of the challenges with the concept of a hero in the first place is that it requires somebody that needs saving. To get to the point where a hero doesn't need a victim, I think it's an important place to get to.


In Egyptian mythology, the cardinal directions are the axis on which the universe was made were knowledge, wisdom, magic, and truth.  I like to think about how we bring knowledge from above into wisdom below, and that we bring magic from behind us to show up as truth in front of us, and that those aspects of ourselves intersect at our heart.


Axis can mean many different things, and we have many different axes on which we need to be aligned both within the body, physically as well as energetically.


 If you want to test how your atlas and axis in your body are moving, you can do so. If you're listening to this right now, make sure that you're able to stop whatever you're doing and really bring your full attention to this. Do not multitask while you are doing this - this shouldn't cause any pain or limitations. If you have any hesitation, listen to this first and ask your healthcare providers first.


If you have the ability just gently tilt your head forward so you're looking down about 45 deg or so, and then very slowly turn your head to the left and turn your head to the right and you can check for symmetry. Do you go the same distance each side? Normal is to go 47 degrees to each side when you turn to one side, do you run into a brick wall or is it nice and soft and springy to each side?


Can also check the amount of apprehension you have with that movement. If it's scary, that's something that is really worth working on with a professional because there's lots of things that you can do with eye movements and with mind body techniques to start to feel safe there as well as with manual therapy techniques. It's also worth evaluating where your heroics and desires are at odds with each other or where your heroics are fighting each other or where your desires are fighting each other because those things will all show up in the head and neck and can limit your motion and can keep you off your axis.

Thank you for listening today. For more information you can go to my website, www.melanieweller.com 


There's lots more to discuss about the Earth's axis in the body,  I'm looking forward to bringing more episodes of Embody Your Star to you.



See you next time.




  What's happening? Check out my Latest Events here >

 You know you're meant for more? Then take a look at my Embody Your Star Signature Coaching Program >

 If you are ready to imagine more... Then my Embody Your Schema Coaching Program may be just what you're looking for.

 Want to know more About Melanie? No problem!

Book Melanie to speak at your event