Harkening back to the earliest days of our Facebook Live presentations .. like, wow! February! … one of our first videos was about everyone’s favorite place to hold tension - the shoulders!
With few exceptions (like that one client I had who held his tension in his feet - I hear ya, brother!), this is probably The Most Popular destination for holding stress.
(Though, I’ve become curious: Where would it be if we tried NOT to hold our stress there? Thoughts?)
I have also been asked (and maybe Bill has, as well) if I think their shoulders are tight due to posture or stress.
My answer is generally ‘yes’, because ultimately, the end result is the same: restriction of movement and therefore blood flow, potential nerve impingement, discomfort or pain, and if left, unchecked, can affect other parts of the body … like the neck, arms, hands, and, as we will see in later posts, the rib cage, low back and hips.
But at the root, in either case, are habits - whether of posture* or emotional response, and along with these habits, our stronger and most-oft-used parts get used more, whether we want them to or not (I’m looking at you, upper traps!), and round and round the cycle goes.
One more thing to consider - how we’re walking.
Our stability and balance ideally is within the harmonious functionality of the core, the pelvis and the hip muscles. When we lose that - whether due to age**, a proprioception-disrupting event like a stroke, a compromising event like surgery or injury, or even wearing high heels - we may end up delegating our sense of stability to the upper body, locking up the shoulders and neck.
A lot to think about, I know.
But, we can start where we are.
In this video, I demonstrate a few simple exercises to help you practice moving the arms at the shoulder joint without involving the muscles that raise your shoulders into your ears.
I highly recommend practicing with a mirror so you can check yourself.
With entrenched habits, we rarely are aware of what we're doing, even if it "feels" right.
Have fun with it, and be sure to let us know how it goes!
*Side note: When I’m speaking of ‘posture’, I’m not suggesting a simple fix of pulling your shoulders back. (Please see my ebook: 6 Things to STOP Doing for Better Posture for more about that.) Yes, our 10-12 pound heads, as they drift closer to our computer screens, etc. is yet another load we’re carrying on the shoulders, but, the truth is, trying to rearrange certain body parts for a better position and hold it there for eternity is only going to create more chronic tension. There are better ways to mobilize and balance the forces that bring about alignment and ease.
To learn more, contact us, or check out our classes!
** And yet another side note: When I say age, I’m not suggesting that getting older is the cause of diminished balance; only that the habits of not reinforcing our balancing mechanisms with use have been around longer, and therefore, are more likely to appear as we get older.