In our last blog I discussed head, neck and shoulder organisation - one of the core principles of Polestar Pilates.
So how do you stabilise your shoulders?
Well, it requires focus and training to do this properly. To make a difference, this is something that you need to introduce into your everyday routine. By making shoulder stability part of your routine, you’ll be amazed how much better you will feel. By working on these key areas you’ll find relief in your neck and shoulders – common sites of pain and tension due to lack of the strength (weak muscles).
In the simple language, shoulder stability refers to scapular control (The scapular is a wing-like bone). Before regular Pilates practice, I used to have what is called “outstanding scapular”. This condition contributed to my chronic neck and upper back pain and tension. If this sounds familiar it’s no surprise. It’s an issue with many people who have a job that involves sitting for prolonged periods (and that’s most of us these days). It’s also a problem with people who carry their shoulders too high which overloads the spine, resulting in body instability and low energy levels.
Let’s see if it’s relevant to you right now – check how you are sitting while you’re reading this blog – hands on the keyboard, head and chin leaning towards the screen? How are your scapular placed in this position – like wings? Now, bring your torso into neutral position – align your hips with your shoulders and keep your feet on the ground in 90-degree angle. Open your chest and widen the area in between your shoulder blades, gently sliding your scapular towards your waist (without changing your body position). Good positioning takes a bit of practice!
A note of caution … when adjusting your posture, you must try and avoid drawing the scapular together too much. To make this easier, it’s really important to maintain your shoulder alignment with your hips. Have a go and leave us comment about your experience at the bottom of this blog.
The good news is that having a healthy neck and functional muscles around the shoulders is within your control. Yes, I know you can book an appointment with the physiotherapist or chiropractor – I used to do the same, but the tension I felt had the annoying habit of returning. These days I try to keep my body in the correct alignment and so avoid these regular visits, knowing it’ll have a more long-term impact.
Stick with it and the reward will be that you’ll start noticing differences straightaway as your body will start letting go of all tension and stress accumulated around this part of your body. You’ll feel much more energised and your breathing will also improve with the correct upper body alignment. I reckon it’s worth trying!
REMEMBER: It’s important to breathe in and out deeply during your practice.
One more thing – the cause of shoulder tension can be a result of narrow thinking, stress, a feeling that there’s not enough time, no joy in your job, tense breathing – so it’s important to turn all of these causes to the positive.
If you still need advice on how to correct your upper body including shoulders, you can visit our mat-based classes in Panaceum Rehabilitation Centre, Geraldton. In September and October, we’ll be offering an express Pilates ‘1/2’ session to all regular clients that have already purchased a ten classes pass. Call 0415 128 804 for more information or send us email.