How are your shoulders?
Oh and your head, and jaw, and chest muscles? Huh? HUH? I suspect if you’re over 42 (a physio once told me that this age is the tipping point for rotator cuff issues)
I have a theory about this, and its been years since I really promoted flexibility in shoulder joints….I knew less then. I’ve been treating this area for 24 years on my massage coach, I suspect your real ‘ahhh’ moment in a massage is your shoulders and neck…am I right?
Our shoulders are probably our most mobile joints, and as we age we really need to work on stability., not flexibility. Our hips are a very similiar joint, in that they have a ball and socket system, but as we are bipeds and not quadrupeds we need the hips to be strong so keep us upright, specifically the glutes. As the hip flexors (Psoas) will always over work … anyway that’s another blog.
A lot of yoga has a very strong emphasis on flexibility… for what purpose? Ask yourself this…. What do I really gain from having really mobile shoulder joints? Invariablly, at some point you’ll be pushing a door, or practising chatarunga, if you’re unlucky you’ll get a ping. Bingo, a rotator cuff tear. If you’re really obsessed with poses that allow you to get your hands behind your back, you’ll be gutted and even just doing your bra up will be painful for a while… until you’re back and ready to stretch that healed tear again. It’s insane.
Its been a revelation to walk my own path with my teaching. It is all coming from evidence based experience. My evidence in what I’ve seen and felt. And my experience after all these years. I’ve seen this many times.
Let me introduce you to the Trapezius. Imagine this as a huge kite shaped muscle on your back that allows you to depress and elevate your shoulders. Why do we need to do this? When startled our arms instantly raise to protect your head. It is our reflexive, protective, reaction. When we are beautifully human, and life stresses get to us, this will be raised most of the day. If we stay chronically stressed; it is permanently elevated. Hence, neck and head and jaw pain. Plus all the other back muscles stay in a constant state of tension. With my expert eye, I also see the chin raised slightly, and the head fixed, and the arms are tired, and the hands can look gnarly and fingers permanent curled. I see it all.
This body pattern may impact your mental health. Constantly alert to danger will manifest in anxiety and OCD etc, perhaps then addictions to try and self soothe will be present. I find it very sad, as there is a way out, with awareness.
Anyway I digress. How do we fix this structurally? TaddaaAAAAA - latisimuss dorsi, rhomboids, serratus muscle development and specific exercises to engage these lazy muscles. Believe me the more you stretch your arms way above your head, the weaker these will become.. those who have been taught by me know that this has been a bug bear for years. Simply lifting your arms can be a very different experience with stability in your shoulder blades, in turn protecting your shoulder joints. For now, try lifting your arms and keeping your shoulder blades down…..If your biceps are tight, your arms won’t be straight, but don’t worry about that for now… don’t lose stability for the sake of ‘lines’ dahhhhling.
My Monday and Thursday class is called Stability&Flexibility. You will learn which muscles need to be stretched and which need strengthening. Some might call it yoga. I guess it looks like yoga. Difference is, it has strong intention.
This is part of the Reset. I can also be booked as a drop in class.
Mondays&Thursdays 6:30am - 7:30am - £12 (or £6.25 on the Reset)
I will be going into even more depth about this at my workshop in September. 2X1.5 workshops…
Hope this helps you.
Feel free to share your experience below.