Most of us start each year with a sense of a new beginning. Unfortunately – sometimes our physical body is slow to catch up on this mental adjustment. The stresses of the last year are still present, especially as we put everything to one side so we can “enjoy the holiday”, instead of working through challenges and letting them go. We experience increased stress as the year closes; deadlines at work, journeys to see friends and family (if we are lucky), less exercise, cold weather, more spending …arghhhh – the list goes on! And for most of this, our bodies (ahem) “shoulder” all the work.
Research suggests that physical symptoms of stress, worry and grief are held in our shoulders, and I don’t know about you, but to me it felt like there was plenty of that around in 2021.
So before we are really able to start afresh in this new year – we need to do some work on letting go of the “stuff” we don’t want from the last one. We need to show ourselves, and our shoulders, some LOVE.
In January, Nichi is focussing on shoulders in all her classes, meaning that we can move into the new year with more energy and a renewed sense of ease.
Try one of Nichi’s Shoulder Flexibility classes for free by clicking on the link below.
Sometimes, we just want to know a bit more! Here are some of the things we often get asked as Yoga Teachers about tightness in the shoulders.
How do I know if I have tight shoulders?
Listen to your body – usually your shoulders will let you know if they aren’t happy! You might notice tightness around and in between the shoulder blades, find a decreased range of motion in other areas like the neck or chest, experience headaches or have discomfort raising your arms. Stiffness in the upper body is very common; however if you are experiencing pain in your body that you aren’t sure about, you should get a medical opinion on what could be causing it.
So, how do I release shoulder tension?
Yoga poses that focus on the upper body will stretch the affected muscles and ligaments. Watching your breath and noticing how the body feels when you a moving it a certain way means you can see what you need to do to allow your body to release. Working with areas around those muscle groups and taking a whole body approach ensures balance and that any connected areas aren’t forgotten.
How can I stop my shoulders and neck getting tight?
As well as stretching and releasing, you need to build strength – not just in your shoulders and arms – but your whole body. You need to keep moving. Have a look at what you are doing day to day, and maybe make small changes to try to stop repeating unconscious movements that might be causing or making things worse. (You know what they are….think – looking down at your phone, sitting down for long periods of time, carrying heavy bags/weights/yoga mats/children/pets using mostly one arm etc.) Listen to what your body is telling you. And RELAX, breathe – try to process your challenges daily and let them go.
All very easy things to write down but hard to do…..but really, this is what Yoga is all about. So definitely worth a try.