Nice Shoulders

by M. M. on March 19, 2012

This is the  third post in a series for the desk-bound who want to keep rocking their health.

Several years ago I used to teach chair yoga at a nearby assisted living facility.  One of my students, a very wise lady with neatly coiffed silvery hair, was already well versed in knowing how to release stress.  She told me that one of her favorite expressions that she shared with her family whenever they were unhappy or frantic about something was,  “Well, where are your shoulders right now?”  As soon as she told me this, I could feel my own starting to relax.

The shoulder area is almost always the first area of the body where fear or anxiety is picked up.    (See if you notice this while driving)

Use Garudasana, or Eagle pose, to move the tension.  It’s a helpful yoga pose for lifting the world off your shoulders.

Try some gentle shoulder shrugs first–roll them up to your ears slowly and squeeze them in to warm the neck muscles, 4 times.  Then bend the right elbow in front of the body, bring it on top of the inner left elbow, and wrap the forearms till you can press both palms together, (although this may take some practice) thumbs pointing towards the nose.  Breathe 5 slow, deep belly breaths through the nose, unwind, and do the other side.

Finish with a forward bend over the legs to release the neck and slowly roll up.

Feels great.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy Kirchhoff March 20, 2012 at 4:22 am

This is *so* needed, Megan; thanks! With a previous neck injury and a few (cough) bad habits at my computer and on the phone, I really need this neck and shoulder de-stressing. I have the toughest time with Eagle pose. I can just get the tips of my fingers to the bottom of the other palm. Any other suggestions to keep improving on this posture – and releasing that tension?

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Megan McGeary March 20, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Hi Cindy!
Yes–there are shoulder warm-ups that should loosen you up more so that Eagle pose gets easier: try standing with arms outstretched in front of you at eye level. Inhale, and as you exhale, sweep your arms wide so that your shoulders squeeze together. Do this up 5 times. Next, inhale the arms up and over your head, then lower arms behind you to interlace your fingers together. Inhale again to lift your sternum up towards the ceiling, then exhale, folding over your thighs, while keeping the fingers interlaced and arms lifting behind you. Stay here for about 4-5 deep breaths.
If any of these feel tough to do, then simply roll the shoulders up by your ears frequently and do lots of forward hangs to release neck and upper body tension while seated in your chair. These are nice breaks to do during long hauls at the computer, and should get you warmed up for doing an effortless Eagle pose! Thanks for asking, Cindy, and I really hope this gives you some options!

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