It shouldn’t feel this way, should it? I mean, you know you are a bit stressed, but you don’t want or need that hunched feeling – still less the look of it! And it’s really frustrating that you can’t let it go. You’ve been trying like crazy, but it just isn’t happening. And when people tell you to calm down, to breathe deeply, and all that stuff, you just want to strangle them – it isn’t helping your shoulders much!
This is exactly the state that my client Jo was in when she came to me for her first ‘Toe in the Water’ Alexander Technique lessons – and she also had the benefit of coming to me when I was running one of my limited-numbers 3-for-the-price-of-2 offers, as I will shortly be doing again. [You can click here to be at the front of the queue to hear about it when I launch it.]
In the meantime, let’s do something for those tight shoulders!
You’ve probably done ‘shoulder rolls’, and maybe other exercises, in the past, as a way to relax your shoulders. But because we are lucky enough to have such versatile and mobile arms, supported and managed by the musculature around our shoulders, this is a highly complex part of our system, so there are plenty of things that can go wrong with almost any exercise intended to create release in the shoulders.
A different approach
So, let’s drop the exercises.
I propose that you simply pay attention instead to your armpits. We don’t talk much about armpits in our day-to-day lives, but paying attention to them can bring huge benefits in our shoulders, down our arms, and even in our breathing.
Start by sitting or standing still, and noticing what you can see in front you; and then add what you can hear.
Then, keeping your vision and hearing alive, include an awareness of where your armpits are.
Be aware that your humerus (the upper arm bone) meets the rest of you much closer to your armpit than to the top of your shoulder – so think of your arms hanging from just inside your armpit.
Then, think of your armpit getting deeper – that’s deeper upwards, confusingly.
Think of the sides of your armpit softening, all round – making sure you include the full 360º of it.
If you find imagery helps, you might think of your armpit as an upside down pot made of soft clay, being moulded deeper and wider all round by an invisible hand.
Some of these ideas may take a few moments to connect with your body, but there’s no need to force it or to rush it. If it doesn’t happen in a timescale that fits the time you have available, come back to it later – or remind yourself of it whenever you remember as you go through your day.
It’s important in this to maintain a light touch, and to remain curious about what happens, rather than expecting a particular outcome.
Over to you
I’d be really interested to learn how you get on with this – join the discussion by leaving a comment below!
Want to be free from tight shoulders fast?
1-to-1 lessons in the Alexander Technique are by far the most effective approach to many muscular aches and pains, including those tight shoulders. Click here to go the front of the queue to hear about my upcoming number-limited discount on Alexander Technique lessons, and you’ll have a head start.
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