There are many causes of shoulder tension. This video and article will help you to recognise the cause and enable you to relieve tight shoulders with Qigong exercise.
How to relieve tight shoulders with Qigong video
Here is an excellent qigong exercise to begin working with the ideas in this article. Just click on the image to watch the video.
With so many people sitting at a desk in front of a computer for long hours it’s no surprise that many complain of having tight shoulders.
When trying to find a solution for your tight shoulders it’s important to understand where it’s coming from. Tension is often a sign that we have lost connection with ourselves at some level. It offers us a reminder to check in & reconnect with ourselves at a deeper level and examine whether the strain is perhaps coming from a physical, mental or emotional level.
Let’s look at some of the most common causes…
1. Absorbed in your laptop or iphone?
Our necks and shoulders are put under huge pressure when we look down at our phone or laptop, checking out the latest news or answering those urgent emails. I heard the other day of a new phrase being coined! “Text neck” is now a recognised & growing problem from overuse of mobile phones.
We get so absorbed and focused in what we’re doing that we often hold our body in awkward postures and unconsciously hold tension in the body without being aware of it until it starts causing discomfort.
2. Stuck at a desk?
These days so many of us are sat in front of a computer for hours without taking a break. When we focus and concentrate on that screen, quite inadvertently we tense the body up. It’s quite common to see people deep in concentration and their forehead completely screwed up.
Posture is an important factor when understanding why tension is arising. When sitting at a desk we often allow the head to jut forwards and the back to slump. If ignored this will cause the muscles in the back, shoulders and neck to become very tight.
Without addressing these postural mishaps the body can become quickly tired and easily fatigued. Working at a desk will then become a huge discomfort where the aches and pains lead to constant distraction and frustration.
3. Feeling Stressed?
There is a powerful connection between the mind and the body. Each influences the other more than you might imagine. When we become stressed for whatever reason and the stress response kicks in the our muscles become tense in response.
The unfortunate thing is that many of us are living day to day in that stress response. We never actually escape from it. It becomes a low level insidious feeling which steadily drains the body of its energy and ‘get up and go!’ That is why you might be experiencing muscle tension a lot of the time.
Like any situation we can gradually get used to it until it becomes almost normal.
This situation is NOT normal, however it is COMMON.
This is a very important distinction to realise.
It means that you don’t have to live like that. You do have the power to change your experience and live a fuller life without tension every day.
4. Time to let go.
Because we live at such a speed nowadays and are bombarded with information every second from so many sources our brains are overloaded with ‘stuff’. When we live in the head so much we lose the connection with our body. And this connection is very very important to our health & wellbeing.
When we allow ourselves to live in the head we lose this valuable connection and slowly we become numb to the signs and signals that our body is giving us all the time. The messages that our body is sending us get drowned out by the sheer volume of information overload in the head. Our body is no longer in our consciousness.
Without being able to feel what’s going on inside our body its extremely hard to just relax the muscles by will power. Remember that our muscles have become conditioned to respond unconsciously, over many years, without us having to think about it.
The unfortunate thing is that very often this conditioning is not the most healthy way of moving or holding the body. We often learn inappropriate ways of moving that become our default mode.
The beauty of a practice like Qigong, is that we make the body more conscious by developing a conscious connection with our internal state.
In this way we can change unhelpful muscle responses through our conscious intent.
Now I know you’re probably thinking well that’s all very well, but my life is so busy that I just don’t have time to sit and meditate for an hour or go on a retreat to get back in touch with my body! I get that totally. that is why I am making it easy for you 🙂
You can find back this health enhancing mind body connection in the most simple and easy ways that don’t need a whole lot of time to learn and master.
All it takes essentially is a desire to move towards living a life of inner connection which ultimately will transform your life.
So how do I start developing this mind body connection?
1. Get out of the head!
In order to gain some understanding of the body we have to approach it with a different mindset. It’s no use trying to learn how to relax by using the same system that brought you so much tension in the first place.
When we try to ‘think’ relaxation our minds become embroiled in an ever increasing confusion and frustration = more tension. Or else we simply embed already learned patterns of muscular tension.
To change this habit we must follow the ancient healing wisdom of Qigong.
We must first of all tune in to the body.
Just like when you turn on the radio, we then tune in to get the right frequency. There might be a bit of hiss or interference before you get a clear signal! The same is true for the mind and body. Initially we take our focus from the outside to the inside.
We simply redirect our attention. Once we have gathered our attention inwardly we then start to listen in or tune in to the body. This process of listening in becomes an actual felt experience as opposed to a thought about experience.
With practice you will be able to pick up the sensation of tension when it arises and then through conscious intent, dissolve it so that it doesn’t impact the body any further. You will find more instructions on this aspect in the video included with this blog called “How to relieve tight shoulders with Qigong.”
2. Train your focus
One of the most common challenges we face when starting to connect with our body is the distracted mind. The mind will often behave like an untrained puppy. It will jump about and run off at the slightest thing. Just like a puppy the mind will need training in order to focus our attention on the task in hand and remain there for long enough to be of some benefit!
Let’s use the qigong exercise in the video as an example. Once you’ve started to redirect your attention inwardly you can then start to listen and feel your body. In this case the shoulders. There will of course be moments when your mind starts to become distracted.
It’s these moments that are important to recognise and with practice and a certain will power we can avoid the mind wandering off.
When the mind wanders we lose connection with what’s going on in our body and as a result lose any kind of influence over it as well. We fall back into our habitual muscular responses which we have grown into over the years.
These conditioned muscular responses are often the root of the tension we experience in our day to day lives causing that stiff neck, tight shoulders or achy back.
By continually bringing the mind back to the body we’re creating the good environment for internal change and transformation whereby old muscular patterns can be unearthed and new healthier ones can be embodied, leaving you feeling both relaxed and energised, looser and more supple.
3. Conscious relaxation
Shoulder tension can also be due to emotional stress. When we go through stressful times it can have an immediate impact on the body. Our muscles tend to react to the emotional responses we experience and consequently tighten up.
Over time this tension can build and eventually cause quite severe physical problems. When we’re worried we often frown causing tension in the forehead, this can lead into other areas like the jaw when we clamp the teeth together, or the neck and shoulders when we are trying to ‘hold it all together.’
As we become used to connecting with our body during the practice sessions it will enable us to stay connected outside of those moments. Eventually we are able to stay connected and present during the most stressful times and able to address the tension as it arises so that it doesn’t get stuck in the body.
Remember that tension can manifest on many levels. We can have physical, mental, emotional & energetic tension. Each one will have its own array of signs and symptoms.
When we develop the sensitivity to Feel inwardly then we can pick up these signs and inhibit our natural conditioned responses and avoid following the path that leads to tension, ill health and potentially dis-ease and instead move towards relaxation, optimal health and ease within one’s body, mind and spirit.
Within Qigong practice we try to develop a state of ‘Song’. Quan Shen Fang Song Gong, to give it it’s full name means “Whole body relaxation.” Fang means to release and suggests that relaxation is not just the lack of tension but is an activity. Quan Shen Fang Song Gong or Song for short, is conscious, alive and alert relaxation. It encourages us to eliminate unnecessary tension whilst being aware & alert to our inner and outer environment.
The feeling of ‘Song’ encourages us to discover the truly magical Qigong state of being. It is in this tranquil but alert state that we can heal and transform the body, mind and energy.
In the this video “How to relieve tight shoulders with Qigong,” you’ll start to practice the art of Song and whole body relaxation.
So there you have it…
Now I’d like to invite you to have a go and try the qigong exercise in the video.
It just takes a few minutes and you can do it virtually anywhere. You can practice it in the morning whilst waiting for the kettle to boil, standing at the station waiting for your train, at your work desk, sitting at lunch…
You get the idea?
There is always a moment for Qigong even for the most busy people!
It’s always a pleasure to hear your experiences.
Let me know how you got on in the comments box.
If you find it useful then I would love for you Share this blog with your friends, family and colleagues. I am passionate in making Qigong available to as many people as possible so they can get the same healing benefits.
Thank you & I look forward to hearing from you.
All the best
P.S. Check out the free Qigong video HERE