Jaw Tension? Consider your hips.
It may be that you have never thought of there being a connection between the hips and the jaw. However, if you are feeling an imbalance or holding excess tension in one of these areas, considering what is going on in the other could be beneficial.
The idea of the hips and the jaw being connected has been widely believed for hundreds of years in Chinese medicine, ayurvedic medicine and amongst chiropractors. However, in the last 10 to 20 years there has been a lot more research to back up this connection.
Here are some ideas to consider!
The jaw sits at the top of your spine, the pelvis/hips at the bottom.
The mandible (jawbone) crosses the midline and has the TMJ –
temporomandibular joint – at either side.
The sacrum also crosses the midline and has the sacroiliac joint at either side.
The pelvis also crosses the midline and has two joints, the hips, on either side.
Now check out these pictures of the structure of the jaw compared to the structure of the pelvis.
A recent scientific study also looked at cranial angles in relation to the spine and the pelvis and
found that these correlated our jaw angle to pelvic alignment and curvature of the back.
Fascia is connective tissue which surrounds body parts from organs to muscles to blood vessels.
If we look at the superficial back line and the front line, we can see the direct relationship/connection between the pelvis and the jaw through these fascial anatomy trains. Looking at fascia, we could argue that everything really is connected!
Did you know we have more than one diaphragm in the body? Some will say five or six, but let’s think about three for now which work together as a system. We have our thoracic (respiratory) diaphragm in the middle, our pelvic diaphragm that sits lower in our pelvis, and then our laryngeal diaphragm (sometimes called the cervical) that sits in the neck.
If you lightly tighten your throat, you may feel your abdominals and pelvic floor respond as your system of diaphragms try to balance out the pressure in the body.
Lastly, when we are stressed it’s extremely common for us to grip our jaw or hold our emotions in our hips. When feeling low or busy working, we may be sat down more often, possibly causing our hip flexors to shorten or our neck to be pushed forward. So, it’s quite common that these two areas together can hold a lot of stress, whether that be emotional or physical.
As singers, we want to have freedom in the muscles of the jaw as they are so closely connected to the tongue, the hyoid bone, the larynx, and the vocal folds. Our hip flexors are part of our core and connect to our diaphragm, so they could be considered as part of our breathing system.
If you have excess jaw tension, it may be that it is nothing to do with your hips…. however! Why not try some exercises to free or align the hips and see how the jaw responds? Whether that’s just getting moving more or doing some yoga or stretches.
Join me in The Sing Space Vocal Gym on Thursday 12th & 19th May at 10.30am where we will explore some of these ideas further through Yoga for Singers.