Body Sense

WINTER | 2018

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Page 6 of 15—your resource for all things bodywork 7—your resource for all things bodywork 7 THE SHOULDER MELT This practice is appropriate to rehab or even pre-hab shoulder tension. This may be used as a fi rst-aid remedy to diffuse the boulders in your shoulders or as a friendly reminder to address your slouching. 1. Begin in a seated position on the fl oor with one or two blankets or towels. 2. Create a towel or blanket roll and place this horizontally on the fl oor behind you. 3. Bend your knees, feet fl at on the fl oor, and slowly roll back and down onto the blanket approximately along the level of your bra-line (or bro-line). The blanket roll is inferior to (below) your shoulder blades and superior to (above) your lumbar spine. Keep in mind, the thicker your blanket roll, the more intense your stretch will be. You may want to place a second folded blanket or a pillow under your head. 4. Rest your arms with palms facing up in a receptive and open position and, if it feels safe for your back, slowly fl atten your legs down to the ground. This pose is a gentle way to balance the effects of gravity. 5. Rest in this position and begin to notice your breath. Send your breath into the back, sides, and front of your chest and heart. Feel where space is most needed and fi ll that space with your loving attention. 6. Smile into your heart and give yourself an appreciation. Appreciate yourself for creating time to stretch, and for being resourceful, kind, and generous. Rest here until you feel your shoulders melt back and down into the fl oor. STRENGTHEN YOUR HEART This practice is an opportunity to stretch your chest and strengthen the rhomboids and muscles along the spine. You can do this throughout your day. To correctly perform the stretch, bend your elbows and interlace your fi ngers behind your hips, separating the palms of your hands. Keeping your elbows bent, lift and square your shoulders; then, draw your shoulders back, moving your elbows toward each other so that your upper arms are parallel to each other. Gently engage the muscles along your spine as you draw your forearms away from your back and stretch the front of your chest and shoulders. Resist the temptation to straighten your arms and hyperextend your elbows, since it reduces the effectiveness of the stretch. The proper action of squaring the shoulders, bending the elbows, and bringing the upper arms parallel with each other will rotate the upper arms outward, opening the space between your upper chest and the fronts of your shoulder joints. TOLL THE HEART'S BELL Moving, stretching, breathing, and experiencing the wide spectrum of all your emotions are all friendly ways to soften your shoulders, dissolve tension, and realign your spine. Create space for what is working for you today, allowing each moment to be a new discovery of what feels best for you and your heart. Staying present and appreciating yourself will continue to toll the bell of your heart, revealing the joy of living in both inner and outer alignment. Heath and Nicole Reed are co-founders of Living Metta (living "loving kindness") and want everyone in the world to enjoy the experience of befriending their body. The Reeds lead workshops and retreats across the country and overseas, including Thailand and Mexico, and have been team-teaching touch and movement therapy for 16 years. Find out more at

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