Bikram Yoga: It’s the shoulders!

Last week I complained about my cement block of an upper back and since then have found out that although a little flat when trying to curve it, my problem area is actually more my shoulders.

“What’s wrong with you?” is now a question that I have to answer with “EVERYTHING”.  OK, it’s a bad question.

If you want a better answer, ask a better question!

In order for me to make the most improvement and progress in my yoga practice, what is the thing I need to focus on the most right now?

For me, I thought the answer was my upper back but it turns out…. the answer is the shoulders!

Thanks to  a lovely teacher at our studio, she’s helped me to identify that my shoulder mobility is in desperate need of improvement and I now have a few exercises to do every morning, noon and night just to get some mobility back in them (while helping to open the upper back).

My shoulders are STIFF and the pain I feel when doing any stretching on them runs from the end of the middle finger all the way up my arm and deep into the armpit.  I always felt this pain but I somehow associated it all with the upper back (don’t ask).

Perhaps mobilising the shoulders will actually help with working into the fat that’s built up around the latissimus dorsi and even the armpits!  Now THAT will be an achievement.  Never mind shoulder mobility, just tell me I can get rid of the armpit fat and I’m there man!!

I’ll tell you one thing for sure.  I thought I was pretty good at knowing my body and identifying where aches and pains were but yoga has proven that I have absolutely no clue.

The “pain in my butt” that I couldn’t identify the source of (and neither could the doctors or the physio for that matter) and now the whole “my upper back hurts” but actually it’s my shoulders.  Who am I kidding?  At this rate I’d be lucky to identify my head from my arse.

I seem to be one big lump of unidentifiable pain stretching the best I can and calling it yoga.

Can you imagine?  Doing yoga for 2.5 years and my shoulders are still like biltong!  I think I use them for things I don’t need to like
“Oh I need to life my leg?  Wait, let me tense my shoulders.”
“Oh, I need to lift my chest?  OK, let me pull it up with my shoulders.” or
“Oh, I need to bend my back?  OK, hang on, I’ll pull it down with my shoulders.”
“Pull with my biceps…. got it!! I’ll just use my shoulders.”

One day, one day I’ll work out how to NOT rely on them so much and instead of being one big lump of unidentifiable pain, I’ll just be one big lump.  Pain free  and armpit fat free and each bit will be doing its part instead of letting my shoulders do all the work and what a wonderful life it will be!

Until then…

“Bend and stretch, reach for the sky…..”


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