The most common complaint from people I'm working with is that their shoulders are extremely tense. There are many reasons for this. For example:
Remember: the brain-body connection means that any thought you're thinking results in a physical manifestation in the body. Tense thoughts = tense body. (Not a good tagline for your life!)
Specifically, we're talking about the upper fibers of the trapezius muscle. You know, the one that can feel like a rock. (Ouch!) This also limits your ability to take a deep breath and throws off your shoulder mechanics. If you usually do your Pilates practice at the end of the day, your shoulder blades might sit much higher and wider on your back and your humeral heads much more forward than they should be, which puts your shoulder joint at risk when you flow through your Leg Pulls, Push-Ups, and Hanging Pull-ups.
The funny thing is that we have become so used to this tension, that we're not aware of it anymore. We have lost the ability to shake the tension off before it starts to really bother us.
Try this super-easy awareness exercise to drop tension from your shoulders. This is also a fantastic homework exercise to give your students. It's about breaking the pattern that leads to tension. All it takes is to remind yourself several times throughout the day to release the tension. Soon it will have become second nature, leading to less build-up and more relaxed shoulders 24/7.
Additionally, this Standing Roll Down will stretch all your back muscles, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. It brings length into the complete backside of your body.
Did that make your shoulders feel better? Good, now make sure that you don't allow the tension to accumulate again. Before you sit down at your desk, or when you're done with computer work for the day, do one of these standing roll downs to release the tension from your neck and shoulders, so you can enjoy the rest of your day or evening.
To get a whole list of exercises that help relax your shoulders, I invite you to join the membership. We have a huge library of exercises specifically for this goal.
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