Pilates Scapular Stabilization

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*This post is dedicated to my awesome pilates hotties- one in particular, who shall remain nameless.  Ok, fine, I’ll tell you.  Her name is Jacque.*

With the holidays upon us, that means two things to many of us here in the Midwest:  STRESS and COLD.

Are you stressing out at work, hunched over your computer, desperately trying to get projects completed and all your ducks in a row so you can take time off to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Years?  Are you hunched over your kitchen table addressing holiday cards or sitting on the floor, endlessly wrapping gifts?  Do you fold into yourself when you’re out walking your dog in 20 degree weather, hanging Christmas lights,  or while running from your car to the nearest mall entrance?  As different as all these situations sound, they all have one thing in common. When we’re stressed out or very cold, our shoulders have a tendency to migrate towards our ears.  Not only does this cause neck and upper back pain, it makes you look kinda funny, too.    : )

In Pilates there are exercises that involve elevating and decompressing our scapula.  The scapula or shoulder blade is the flat, triangular shaped bone that connects the humerus (upper arm bone) with the clavicle (collar bone).  The scapula forms the posterior (back) located part of the shoulder girdle.  (Rib/Scapula Connection–“Secondary Powerhouse”…Sound familiar?!)

Often I’ll cue,”Slide your shoulder blades down in your back pockets” to help with shoulder placement.   Here’s a great video I found to help you practice scapular stabilization.  (sorry about the short commercial)

Pilates Scapular Stabilization Exercise

So when you’re feeling tired and stressed or chilled to the bone, remember to lower your shoulders down where they belong.   And next time you’re doing pilates, (Miss Jacque) remember that yes, it IS possible to raise your arms above your head while sliding your shoulder blades down into your back pockets.

Stay warm.  Stay well.  And remember that every moment is a gift.  Enjoy the present.

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