Some of you may know that I am a yoga fanatic. I try to recruit yogis and yoginis everywhere I go. My co-workers are probably a little sick of my battlecry…”Are you breathing?”
But it helps me so much, when I am hunched over the bench, holding my breath while I scrape something off of something else, to remember to not only take a deep breath, but to continue to breathe, slowly and steadily. And when I try to do that, I realize that, not only am I not breathing, but my shoulders are up around my ears while I hold my head at a really strange angle because I’m trying to use both my bifocals and head visor, causing my neck to scream, my lower back to ache, and numbness to gradually shut down my hands. Generally not good for delicate work.
So, I take a deep breath, and push my shoulders back down. In fact, I apply some of what I’ve learned in yoga class. Instead of just removing my shoulders from my inner ears, I try to push the wings of my shoulders down my back so that they think they can meet in the middle, and then I spread them out as if they could spread out to the sides, past my arms but without moving my arms forward. Okay, that sounds a little weird, but the motion spreads the shoulder blades out so that all the stress on neck and arms and lower back is dispersed, especially if I remember to tilt my pelvis so my lower back is relatively flat as well.
It’s impossible to hunch, that way, and breath can expand your lungs without force. It takes a bit of practice.
Yoga Journal is a great source for figuring out how to do Downward Dog, and here is an article on yoga anatomy.
If we’re gonna keep doing this work, we have to take care of our tools. Body is one of ’em. Happy New Year Resolutions!