Neutral … in relation to what?

A few days ago, I made a video about the beginnings of understanding the context of alignment. And any conversation about alignment has to start with an understanding of neutral. What’s neutral?*

It’s a living process, an ever-moving target.

It is not a position; it is not a particular arrangement of bony parts.

It is only what it is in context. Outside of the context of oppositional forces, there is no valid concept of neutrality.

It is different for you today than it was four seconds ago, much less last week or year.

It is different for you standing than it is sitting, different standing at the bus stop than standing as you wait for a first date to arrive.

Likewise, a "normal" or neutral breath whilst under duress — say at your parents' house for the holidays — is different than a normal breath while on vacation. Your normal breath will be different if you experienced this or that trauma as a child versus if you didn't, and on and on.

Neutral — also called homeostasis — has been with you since you were a zygote: a perfect balance of pressures.

It’s something you can’t escape. That’s the irony.

You are never *not* in neutral in a certain respect. If “part” of you zigs, another “part” of you zags. It’s perfect balance.

And yet, it’s a good conversation to have. “How goes that zigging and zagging? How’s it feeling? How’s it working for you?”


*You hear it all the time in movement and fitness world type stuff. “Neutral spine” or “neutral pelvis” … as part of the “have good alignment in your shoulders” or whatever conversation.

I, too, say stuff like this a lot! I think it’s very helpful.

I also think it’s very, very important to put these concepts in their place so they — the words pointing to concepts pointing to actual, lived experiences — serve that lived experience, and are not in place so that our lived experience conforms to the idea. That’s a pretty classic recipe for suffering.