“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” Pema Chodron
In keeping with my smelly-body-parts blog I’d like to take a brief sojourn up to the armpits.
So often we hear the call for us to “open our hearts” but how can we specifically find this space in our physical body? There are many diverse deviations in posture and alignment I see in my clients and students, so I offer a widely encompassing cue here:
Establish a comfortably sustainable posture using your feet to register the earth. Notice that you are breathing. Deepen the space under your upper arms. Keep breathing.
That last bit about deepening your underarms while continuing to breathe is The Magic. When you locate the head of your humerus bone for your neuromuscular system, you create the opportunity for your collar bones to widen, your shoulder blades to coalesce upon your upper back, and the length of your neck to increase.
You will know you are getting this terrific trick to work for you when you feel like the weight of your arms is being held by (newly) awakened muscles around the bottom tips of your shoulder blades. As in the picture above, you might also note a shallow groove created between the shoulder blades. (Forgive me – my head could be a few degrees further back… I’m still practicing myself!)
Maybe with time this technique will eliminate neck pain or tension headaches when you sit at the computer. Perhaps now we can forever stop sweating and staining the underarms of our shirts! Or, this might just something to practice while we sit in a traffic jam instead of clenching around the uncontrollable.
Warning! – New-Age Leap Ahead! ……. But what if with this awareness the autonomic nervous system (the one that adjusts your body to deal with stress) can find the requisite time and space to tender a calm response to the person/situation that used to “drive you crazy?”
Ah, that is a very cool trick indeed! So then let’s widen to find a breadth of gratitude for our stressors / teachers …… and learn from them how to expand.