Monday, April 04, 2005

Notes for Self on Shoulder Posture

This post is more to help me out than for anyone's reading pleasure :-), as explained in the next few paragraphs. So if you're interested you might want to read them, and then possibly skip the rest.

I've been plagued by muscular tension for ages, coming from... well, it's not completely clear. Having had all the problems for a long time is itself a major source, perhaps all of it now.

From time to time i've realised various postural things I'm doing that is contributing to it. It's always something subtle. I'm not even sure how i manage to figure out the right posture. Usually the current posture i have feels alright, even though its not. Or at least any deviation from it feels funny. Recently I think I've had another insight into it.

This post is to document what I'm doing and what I should be doing posturally with this insight, in order to help me remember to do it and how to do it. Becuse the right posture feels unnatural, it is, as I've discovered many times in the past, very easy to get it right for a while but slowly slip back into the bad habits and hard to realise this and remember what I should have been doing.

Part of the problem is that we don't have any ordinary vocabulary / concepts for describing postural positions, and without these it's hard to remember these details. So I'm hoping that by writing it down it will help fix it in my mind, and give me something I can periodically check up on. And the blog seemed the best place to do it, as the combination of chronological order and web search makes it easier to manage and find things you've written.

So here goes...

I get a lot of tension in my shoulders... and I think this causes a lot of tension in my neck. When I was at the chiropractor last he was telling me this position, that I wasn't aware of, that i can put my arms in to rest those muscles.

And doing that gave me an intuitive sense that my shoulder posture was wrong, and that this was causing a lot of the tension. My implicit mental model was that shoulders were either up and tense or down and relaxed, and as much as I tried to relax them it just didn't seem to work.

See, what was happening was that I've been trying hard to sit/stand up straight and tall and as part of this had been lifting up my chest and the front side of my shoulders (if you talk of the shoulders running up from the front side of the body, onto the top of the shoulders, and down on the back side). This didn't feel like lifting up my shoulders but it was.

What i've realised is to let them "sag backwards" and what it feels like to do so. Doing this doesn't really feel like standing up straight, and i think part of that is that when I do it, my neck tends to tilt forwards. It's a lot of effort to draw my neck up and keep it more properly verticle when I do this.

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