7 Cervical Vertebrae, 7 Chakras and 7 Connects More
Anatomically, virtually all mammals, including us humans, have 7 cervical vertebrae. They are numbered C-1 through C-7 with C-1 being the first one at the base of skull. C-1 is called the Atlas vertebrae and C-2 is the axis. The Atlas is named after the mythological Titan who held the Earth on his shoulders. Atlas is able to shift balance on the axis. Clarified, C-1 enables you to shake your head 'yes' and C-2 turns the head to say no.
These vertebrae hold your head up high, which averages 10 pounds, and is essential in transmitting information to the body. These 7 vertebrae are some of the smallest and lightest bones in the entire skeleton; yet, perform some of the most critical functions. Might add some merit to feeling like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders when stressed. We are not alone. Dogs, lions, giraffes, and practically every other mammal has 7 cervical vertebrae. They've got their own world to survive and thrive in. Dog eat dog world means more. Giraffe have 7 cervical vertebrae; but, get this...each one can be 10 inches long! Is there a reason all mammals have 7 cervical vertebrae? Before, I share what I discovered, let's review the other 5.
C-1 and 2 control the head and neck. C-3 directly impacts the diaphragm. Wow. The muscle making breathing possible linked to a vertebrae in the neck. C-4 impacts upper body muscles like the biceps and deltoids. C-5 and 6 affect the wrists. C-7 directly linked to bladder and bowel control. The first four vertebrae hold the most impact if damaged. The lower you go in the spine, the less debilitating the consequences of damage. Totally not implying injury to any vertebrae is not detrimental. But, some serious thought went into the design of the spine. Seems like injury to the parts higher up is more difficult because the consequences are most detrimental.
Between each vertebrae is a disc. Discs are a complex criss-cross of fibrous (strong) bands of connective tissue. Connective tissue is designed not to be flexible for a reason. It keeps parts in place. Inside those discs is a gel-like fluid for cushion. Know how you love laying your head softly on a pillow at night and feel the ease of resting on it? Your vertebrae need their pillow too. At night, while you sleep, fluid is absorbed from your bones (vertebrae) to re-fill the discs. As you go about your day standing, the fluid is slowly pressed back into the bone. If you have herniated discs or bulging discs, that's a whole other story.
The back vs. the anterior core should be your chief focus. Your back muscles stabilize your spine. You have muscles going horizontally, vertically and diagonally layer by layer. These muscles maintain your posture. A strong back wrapped with stable muscles provides the posture to lift up the anterior core. The muscles in your neck from C-1 to C-7 have the greatest endurance of all the body's muscles. We all have a piece of Titan in us. (And, for Tennessee Titan fans, hold your head up high...we hold the world on our shoulders! Couldn't resist...I'm a Tennessee girl)
Yoga moves each vertebrae...each muscle you're ready to discover...the nerves inside the spine...the energy contained in the body's cells and beyond the skin. Amazing exchange of information rapidly flowing up and down your spinal column. Moves, thoughts, emotions, breathing, hormones, and a constant restructuring of the body to adapt to your posture is taking place. Habitual bad posture directly affects the organs' ability to function fully. Everything needs space. Sit up straighter and notice the immediate internal lift. You've got the backbone...use it.
Studying the 7 cervical vertebrae mysteriously drew me to learn more about the enigmatic number 7.
Seven is and has been universally deemed special for thousands of years. In ancient times, before the telescope, man could see 7 major creations in the sky...the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter. Ancient Romans and Egyptians had 7 gods. The Earth in the Bible was created in six days with one day of rest. The Japanese have 7 lucky gods of fortune. The Arabs have 7 holy temples. The Jewish tradition of mourning is sitting shiva (seven) for seven days. Atlas, the Titan with the world on his shoulders had seven daughters...called The Seven Sisters.
There are 7 wonders of the world. 7 notes in the musical scale. 7 continents. 7 seas. 7 colors of the rainbow. 7 days of the week. 7 principle energy levels. 7 directions...left, right, forward, backward, up, down, center. 7 main stars in the Big Dipper. Coincidence? Elusive message?
Being creatures of adaptation and collective consciousness, we added to the list of 7's. A maximum of 7 playoff games in professional NHL, MLB and NBA games. 7 (3 in a row) on the slot machine hits the jackpot...ka-ching! 3 seven's make blackjack. 7 dwarfs in Snow White. And, get this...The Roman numeral VII in ancient times stood for white dwarfs in the sky. Did Walt Disney and the writers of this classic know this sliver of knowledge when picking Snow White's dwarfs? And, is that why her name is Snow White?
Yogis focus on 7 chakras. In the Hebrew, the seventh letter is zayin...the numerical equivalent of the letter is 7 and the name zayin means crown. The 7th chakra is the crown linking us to a Higher Source. Each chakra is unique in its purpose and energy. Mix and match and you create, strengthen or broaden perceptions. Just like the 7 notes of the musical scale, there is an infinite and beautiful complexity of overlapping and merging exponentially.
There's something psychologically alluring in not completely understanding something. It leaves space for you to discover more beyond your original intention. And, if you're humble...you know...really know...you're life is a continuous process of scratching the surface of the enigmatic iceberg of knowledge. That is true wisdom.
I'm feeling lucky I felt compelled to study and write about the first 7 vertebrae. The pull of number 7 guided me to click on different links. Might be time to go to Vegas...I'll be sure to do 7 Sun Salutations before I hit the slots:)