On Teaching Alignment

While working to align ourselves, specifically our shoulders, it’s easy to overdo it. To minimize strain, we want to spread our collarbones wide. If we trace the collarbone with our hands, we can feel the distal end far out to the side, further than we think.

When we thrust our collarbones back too far to open our hearts, the sternum pushes out. Because of the crucial relationship between the head and shoulders, if we don’t pay attention, the head thrusts forward. Then the entire shoulder girdle ends up behind the hips. With this exaggerated lift in the front and shoulders too far back, we end up with our sternum hard and high like a shield, chin up. We wanted to open our chest, move our shoulders back into correct alignment. What happened? If we don’t see how all our separate parts work together, we may create another postural pattern as misaligned as the first.

What to do? Make small, incremental adjustments and taste how what we are doing fits in with our overall sense of ourselves. We want to feel a looser, not quite so gripped, more free, sense of being.

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