Shoulders Down

I’ve started doing yoga every morning before I get ready for work.

Yeah, I’ve been here before.
I love yoga. I know it’s hard to believe because I do it so infrequently. But there’s something very calming about moving through a sun salutation. I feel more at peace, more ready to face the nonsense better known as “a day’s work.”
On Wednesdays, I attend a lunch-hour class sponsored by my company. As we move through postures, Steve, our yogi, walks by and places a gentle hand on my shoulder.
“Shoulders down,” he reminds the class.
Even though I believe my shoulders are exactly where they should be, Steve always is able to move them by an inch or two. So this week, I started paying attention, and I learned something:
I hunch my shoulders. A lot. Stress, I’ve discovered, is a major cause of my shrugged shoulders.
I also learned it’s a painful habit to break. I didn’t know putting something back where it belongs could hurt so much. My shoulders have been aching for days.

Forcing me to put my shoulders down has also encouraged me to deal with my stress, instead of letting it build. Sort of like my “Jesus, be a fence” mantra.

I made it back to yoga last week, ready to see how my poses improved with lowered shoulders. Our substitute yogi, Becky, mentioned she was a “hands-on” teacher. She corrected my leg positions, adjusted my back’s alignment, and encouraged me to stretch a little further while in cobbler’s pose. Not once, did she touch my shoulders.

I thought I was home free as our hour came to an end. I happily stretched onto my mat for corpse pose, a position where you lie flat on your back. Becky came by and made one last adjustment. She pressed my shoulders away from my ears. Damn.

I guess I’m a work in progress.

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