Yoga can be wonderful for our shoulders. Heart opening poses can stretch tight pec muscles and strengthen our rhomboids by bringing the shoulder blades closer together. Planks and chaturangas can strengthen the shoulder girdle muscles, including the lats, pecs and serratus anterior. When we move mindfully, we can engage our rotator cuff muscles to stabilize the position of the humerus in the shoulder socket.
We have heard it before: pull your shoulders down and back for the best posture. For some people, however, especially those with “sloped” shoulders, this can aggravate neck tension and may even cause tingling down into the arms.
When attempting good posture, we often “pull the shoulder blades back.” This usually feels good, because it counteracts our forward bending and slouching tendencies.
But if we add one more piece of awareness–the position of the spine–we can add length and space to the mid-back, making it stronger and less prone to injury.
Sitting well is not complicated. It requires common sense and some intuition. When you sit well, your back feels good because your vertebrae have adequate space and circulation. Your breath is slow because your diaphragm elevates and depresses without restriction. Your neck and head feel level and without tension. You are able to concentrate because your eyes are not straining.
You know what it is: one hip pushed out to the side when standing, usually to hold a child. In the physical therapy world, it is “Hip Adduction Syndrome.” Daddies can get it too, and so can non-parents, but women who are mothers are most susceptible. Over time, standing this way puts pressure on the hip and predisposes the lower back, knees, neck and shoulders to arthritis.