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“Relax your shoulders”, “soften your shoulders”, “release the tension in your shoulders” – I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard all of these instructions and more( and obviously said some myself !) in my many years in the yoga world.

Part of the reason for these cues is the pervasive creed that just about everyone’s upper nets are pesky, misbehaving muscles that consequently motive suffering in our shoulders& neck.

This is an interesting idea, though, because 😛 TAGEND

1) The upper trapezius muscle is actually a very thin, superficial formation that sounds pretty low on the roster of “most likely to be evil” muscles.

2) Pain isn’t an input from the rim, but an output from the central nervous system – so a muscle doesn’t truly* cause* pain.

3) Even if the upper catches* were* the widely misbehaving, insolent muscles we often think they are, why would perpetually loosening or “releasing” them cause them to behave well?

This “relax your shoulders” narrative has seemed questionable to me for years, but I recently learned about a brand new study in which people with neck& shoulder sting were given a 5-week upper trap strengthening curriculum.( That’s right – a* strengthening* planned !)

And after doing this upper trap strength work, their tendernes weakened!

This evidence seems to run counter to popular belief. Instead of tightening the upper nets and “releasing” their hostility all the time, perhaps we should consider strengthening them and* increasing* their hostility!

Just one more reason why “tension” isn’t definitely a bad concept, although there is our language often tends to imply that it is.

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