Shoulder Heaven

The human body—not just yours, but everyone’s– is basically lazy. I attribute this to back in the day when we needed to conserve energy just to survive—lions and tigers and bears, foot shortages, lack of shelter in harsh weather, fleeing invading tribes on short notice.

The result? Even as reasonable, if not excessively safe, modern humans, we still don’t naturally exert effort in any way, shape or form. Remember, the entire Industrial Revolution was founded (and thrived) on the principle of labor-saving devices—allowing us to accomplish more with less effort, whether that was tilling the fields, stitching garments together, or vacuuming the living room rug.

Given a choice, we let gravity win. Add to that, chronic stress/tension, and it’s no surprise most people never learn how to stand up straight. Instead, we condemn ourselves to a life of back, shoulder, and neck pain—any of which can suck the joy out of daily life and drive you away from all kinds of fun and healthy sports—the physical activities we actually choose to do cuz we enjoy them.

The remedy is hardly rocket science, but you’ll need to keep your eyes on the prize (no pain!) to make a difference. My 3 don’ts and do’s for a lifetime of shoulder bliss:

  1. DON’T work on a computer/laptop/tablet/smart phone that makes you round forward and draw your hands closer than shoulder width apart. Stop texting, period! Need more guidance: watch my 3-minute Youtube video “Yoga for Computer Users” under Lois Nesbitt Yoga.
  2. DON’T carry a bag on one shoulder; always wheel your suitcase with the same arm (assuming you are bright enough to have shifted to using a wheely suitcase and given up lugging any luggage around by hand. If not, today’s the day to make the switch!).
  3. DON’T sleep curled up on your side in fetal position (more on sleep positions in an upcoming blog, but for now see my 3 Yoga for Sleeping videos on Youtube—one for side sleepers, one for back sleepers, one for belly sleeper). You’d be surprised how much damage we do to the body happens in bed!
  4. DO invest ($100 or less) in a detachable keyboard that splits in the middle so you can adjust to shoulder width. Raise your screen to eye height (mine sits on two dictionaries).
  5. DO wear a cross-body messenger bag and switch out shoulders now and then.
  6. DO practice the shoulder stretches every day!

Remember: it doesn’t matter how many yoga classes you squeeze into your week—if your posture the rest of the time looks more like a snail than homo erectus, you’re gonna feel the burn . . . Set the intention never to end up with shoulder pain, rotator cuff injuries, shoulder tendenitis, tennis elbow, golf elbow, carpal tunnel, and any other arm and shoulder evils. Really, life in these bodies is fraught with enough perils. You owe it to yourself to at least avoid the ones that truly are avoidable!

Questions? Reach out to me at loisnesbitt1@gmail.com and/or check out my www.loisnesbittyoga.com. I specialized in injury healing and prevention on and off the mat. I offer public workshops, teacher trainings, and private lessons to get you back on track. Today’s the day to turn around a lifetime of potential damage.

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