Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What's Up With My Shoulders?

I cannot be the only one...who has heard, "relax your shoulders," so many times during a yoga class that you have felt the need to check that it's not on a loop alongside the soothing chanting and wind chimes soundtrack, but rather it is in fact the instructor repeating it over and over.

While looking through my knees to the wall behind me, in downward facing dog, attempting to walk my feet closer to my hands and finally get those heels to touch down on the mat, the yoga instructor comes by and gently reminds me, "release your shoulders".  I make an adjustment.

I am standing feet wide on the mat, arms extended out reaching for the front and the back of the studio in my best rendition of Warrior II, trying to keep my chest lifted and my legs strong, when the teacher nudges the class, "drop those shoulders".  I make an adjustment.

Here's one now: The Shoulder
All of these benevolent reminders about the position of my shoulders started me to wonder, what in hell is up with my shoulders?

I began to notice that it wasn't just during yoga that my shoulders felt the need to reach up to the sky, it was happening all the time. I would be driving in my car, listening to satellite radio, enjoying the air conditioning, when I notice my shoulders are squeezing together making my neck tight. Watching t.v. with my husband, maybe even possibly holding a chilled glass of chardonnay, and here they were, shoulders fighting gravity reaching for my earlobes. And, most painfully, towards the mid-point of my morning jog, I could feel that cramp across my collar bone as my shoulders ascended to the clouds.

Early in the year I had a pesky bout of shoulder pain.  In fact, I had received a giant cortisone shot (which didn't work) and an MRI (which showed zero damage to my shoulder), both of which left the doctor puzzled, finally diagnosing me with a shoulder impingement (unprovoked, I hadn't suffered an injury). Although now, after the numerous reminders from my yoga instructor to loosen up my shoulders, I started to suspect that my impingement could be from the subconscious storing of stress in my shoulders- causing their tensing up ALL DAY EVERYDAY.

When I first started practicing yoga my shoulders would be sore, not impingement sore, but sore all the same (along with sore arms, legs, name it). But now that my practice of yoga has taken on a regular schedule, I have noticed these rascally shoulders of mine are not climbing the ladder of stress towards my ears as much and the pain has almost completely subsided.

As a matter of fact, thanks to my practice of yoga, I can recognize much easier when my shoulders begin their tour of tensing, and I can hear my yoga instructor's calm reminder to relax my shoulders, and I make an adjustment.


  1. I can relate! It has taken a long time for downward dog to be a resting position! And I find my shoulders up all the time. Just now as I'm typing, when I'm washing dishes, when I'm putting away clothes.... It's ridiculous. But as I'm now more aware of it, I can fight it. Thank you for the relatable post!

    1. Hi Angie,

      Thanks for stopping, relax those shoulders :)