We are preparing to teach the Ultimate Shoulder Workshop this month. And while it is really helpful to provide specific exercises and stretches to develop functionally healthy shoulders, we also have to consider the problem of tension.
And, the startle reflex, the physical reaction of your body when your mind perceives danger that tightens your neck muscles, raises your shoulders, and has you holding your breath.
Have you noticed this reaction in yourself or observed it in others? For some people, it actually becomes patterned in posturally.
Frank Wildman, Ph.D. and Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher, has studied the relationship between the startle response and tension. In the article The Startle Reflex: Our Source Of Chronic Pain And Stress he describes a cascade of effects that occur in the face, jaw, neck, shoulders, and belly. He even describes how the toes tense and grip the ground. You may want to read more.
As with anything, once you have greater awareness, you are in a better position to undo these patterns by:
· opening the space around your throat and jaw
· dropping your shoulders and hanging your arms
· deepening your breathing
· spreading and grounding your feet
Now you are ready to move with greater agility, balance, and true strength!