In our culture, which imposes so much pressure on us, the posture of Atlas carrying the world on his (her) shoulders is very common. If you have a tendency to carry tension in your neck and shoulders, while your head is habitually positioned slightly forward, you are afflicted with what I call the Atlas syndrome.
It is directly connected with the difficulties with expressing your authentic voice. Try speaking your truth while your throat is constricted, crushed under the weight of external pressures and expectations!
Are you carrying the world on your shoulders? If so, you’re probably no stranger to painful neck and shoulder tension that sometimes triggers headaches.
Note that the words “SHOULDer” and “SHOULD” are conspicuously similar.
Here’s your Heart Talk Yoga® healing Rx:
HEART: Introduce this centering thought into your spiritual practice and daily awareness: “I choose my commitments carefully.”
TALK: Notice one thing today that you do because you feel you “should.” Does this thing contribute to your growth? Is it aligned with your mission?
If yes, connect with the energy of your purpose, and your attitude will shift—from feeling like you have to do thing thing because you “should” to feeling authentically moved, inspired to do it. The feeling will shift from heavy to light, effortless.
If no, change it—either this thing that you do, or the circumstances that demand that you do it.
YOGA: Try this simple practice for releasing tension from your neck and shoulders. I call it “Atlas Shrugged,” after Ayn Rand’s novel. On an inhalation, shrug the shoulders to the ears, tense the muscles, then drop the shoulders down effortlessly, exhaling with the sound “Ha!” released from deep inside your throat.
Each time you do it, visualize that you’re shaking off the “shoulds,” shrugging them off your shoulders. Repeat for 3-5 rounds, then pause and observe the effects of this practice on your body and mind.
Share how it goes for you in the comments!