How to relax your shoulders while you sit tall
This is another question from one of my readers who downloaded my ebook “15 healthy habits for the body“. She asked me how can she possibly relax her shoulders when she drives and sits tall.
Indeed this is a good question. We are taught since an early age that to sit or stand tall, with a nice straight posture we need to bring our shoulder blades together, push our chest out and pull the front of the shoulders back, chin in the chest. That is an army posture and it’s certainly a straight one.
You stand or sit straight tall no doubt but at what cost? You stretch the front of your body while the back of your body takes all the tensions. Your shoulder blades, your spine, your erector spinae (the muscles left and right of your spine), your lats, your neck they are all tensed and compressed. That uses a lot of energy and strains your body and adding everything else by the end of the day you are exhausted.
Where does this take us
This tension leads to pains in the shoulder region, neck, back. Physical tension leads to impatience, mood changes, frustration and mental stress. This in turn lead to lack of focus, creativity and productivity.
The how do we do it
The Alexander Principles teach us the opposite. That to be tall we need to be relaxed. It is about slowly re-aligning the body. Easier said than done I know.
But if you follow these 3 steps you posture will begin to improve as well as reduce the aches and pains your feel when you try to stand or sit tall.
1. Align your neck and head, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. When you sit you align from the head to the hips. Imagine a straight line or a column going from your head all the way to your hips or ankles depending on whether you sit or stand. Now you are aligned.
2. Imagine a piece of string attached to the top of your head.
Let your shoulders drop on every out breathe. You can also sigh, it will help release the tension in the shoulders.
That piece of string slowly pulls your body out of the ankles, shins, knees, thighs, hips, pull the neck out of the collar bone and the head out of the neck.
This is the first thing I learnt when I began my natural movement journey.
3. Breathe in and out.
Breathing is one of the best ways to release tensions and pressures around the body. Anywhere you feel tension breathe into that area and when you breath out let go of all that physical stress. Feel your body melting with every out breath.
And this is how you relax your whole body when you sit or stand. The more you practice the easier it gets, the more automatic and natural it becomes. In the end you will be able to do it when you drive.
Please be careful in the road when you need to focus at traffic not on relaxing your body. Practice this when you are not driving until it becomes easier so you don’t need to think about it too much.
As usual with everything you do BE MINDFUL