Your body quite easily interprets your emotional state. Sometimes it can be a more effective tool than your mind. Just by observing your posture, you can tell if you are in a state of fear (forward head position with the sense organs out in front to detect danger), resignation (slouched shoulders and caved chest) or stress (shoulders tight and high toward the ears).
Over time, your body will learn your most consistent emotional patterns and habituate a certain posture. But any habit can be changed. A sattvic Yoga asana practice is the tool for this re-education.
We like adding shoulder shimmies at the beginning of practice to loosen the muscles in the shoulders, upper back and chest and balance the flow of prana. If you practice this pose with good posture -- your head aligned directly above your shoulders, your face straight ahead, feet forward -- shoulder shimmies can retrain the muscles that support the head. This allows your heart to open and will lead you along your path.
While you won’t find shoulder shimmies in the traditional texts, this pose is very much a remedy for the modern ailments that come from working on a computer or driving in cars, or to let go of emotional baggage in the anahata, or heart chakra.
This is one of the few asana in which you should keep going even if you want to stop. Energy moves the more you move it, and practicing shoulder shimmies regularly will open up space in the energy channels in your upper body and improve your mental focus. Aim for three minutes, but if you experience sharp pain in your joints, start with less time and work your way up. It’s nice to smile at yourself during this practice!
Here at Hale Pule, we talk about asana with three designations: essence, anchor and strength. This is a simple tool to remember the intention of the pose, where your body is grounded and the muscles you engage for proper alignment. These components will support optimal energy flow and a sustainable practice throughout your life.
Shoulder shimmies from the ground up
Common trouble spots
This pose is meant to correct posture, so it's important to have good posture when practicing.
The movement in shoulder shimmies is up and down. Isolate the movement in your shoulders and avoid moving your body from side to side as you practice.
Be sure to keep the movement fluid as you practice. Allow your shoulders to move in sync with one another.