I love many of Eric Franklin’s images. This one is from his book Dynamic Alignment Through Imagery. Here are some of his thoughts around the palate, tongue and mouth that have stayed with me and slipped into my teachings:
Imagine the dome-shaped top of the mouth expanding toward the top of the skull. Watch from the inside as the dome becomes larger, as if you are standing inside an expanding balloon. Imagine your whole body hanging from the top of your mouth. Let the top of your skull and the neck soften and the tongue melt. You may also think of the tongue deflating, as if filled with air that is now escaping from the edges of your tongue. Imagine the tongue becoming permeable like cotton. Let your breath float around and through your tongue.
He has another image in another book highlighting the round shape of the mouth. Imagine the release of the jaw as the teeth separate and the mandible falls away from the skull. Let the tongue be wide and soft on the floor of the mouth as the palate domes and lifts. I like to suggest that students explore the cavern of the mouth allowing more space for all of its nooks and crannies.
Now run the tongue along the ridge of the palate starting at the teeth. This is part of your mid-line. I like to orient it to the bridge of the nose, the breast bone, the naval, the pubic disc, the big toes and the crown of the head.
As you draw your tongue along the ridge, you’ll notice that the palate is hard all the way to the back teeth and then it becomes the soft palate. Let your tongue turn over, lightly resting the bottom tip of your tongue into the soft palate. Create a soft suctioning, drawing the palate and the tongue back and up as if pulling it toward the birthing crown. After stimulating this area for a little while, rest and again cultivate the soft cavernous feeling of the mouth. Feel as if you can float the head from this soft lift in the doming palate as your body, with all of its sister diaphragms, hangs below.
Explore in different orientations to gravity, going sideways, upside down, twisting and back bending. How does the palate contribute to your poses and relate to your other structures?