Sunday, December 1, 2013

Shoulders Can Be a Pain in the Neck, and Elsewhere!!!

Using your Bandhas is important.  It is important to your Yoga practice and it is important to just plain living comfortably.

Other important things to use are your Lower Trapezius muscles.  Here is a diagram of your Trapezius muscle.

There are three parts of the trapezius muscle: the upper fibers (shown in YELLOW), used to bring your shoulders to your ears, the middle fibers(shown in BLUE) that bring your shoulders up and also inward, just like the rhomboids, and the lower fibers (shown in RED) that pull your shoulder blades downward.
Try pulling your shoulder blades down.  Not so easy?  Outside of a Yoga class, when was the last time you remembered performing this kind of action?  Probably not very recently, as we don’t spend a good deal of time with our shoulder blades back and down.
Now, lift your shoulders towards your ears – fairly easy?  This action is performed readily when the “fight or flight” syndrome is engaged; pulling our shoulders towards our ears is a protective mechanism.  What else feels tight when you hold your shoulders there?  Well, if you hold your shoulders there long enough, you might feel several things
  • the base of your neck may feel tight
  • an uncomfortable pulling in your rhomboids (in between your shoulder blades)
  • tight contracted feeling in your chest
  • even discomfort in your rib cage
  • tension headaches, stiff neck, achy shoulders 

I've been incorporating some deliberate moves in my Yoga classes lately to get an "anti-shrug" happening.  Let's work on it!!!


  1. Love this post and am trying the 'anti shrug' moves too. My traps were talking to me after Thursday's yoga class. Good talking though. Thanks, Susan

  2. Thanks for the diagram, Kate! I love how you take time to explain new ideas. take care, Cheryl


  3. ;-( miss your classes! I could use some of those anti shrug moves!