The Shoulder Press is a move that we always need and there is no way to do it to ourselves! Using your bodyweight, you help to release the muscles of the upper shoulders – traps, levator scapular, supraspinatus – many of which cause tension headaches and painful referral patterns into the neck and head.
How to do the Shoulder Press (video below):
- Stand behind your partner.
- Place the outside of one foot to their sacrum so that the outside of your shin supports their spine. Your toes will be turned out, be careful with the torque in your knee here.
- Move the other foot back so you are in a high lunge.
- Lean your torso forward to place your shoulders directly above theirs.
- Turn your fingers back to face you, place the heels of your hands on the spine of the scapula.
- Before beginning any bodywork, take a moment here to cultivate Metta to support you both during your massage.
- Feel the flow of their breath.
- As they breath out, lean in/down, using your bodyweight to create pressure through the heels of your hands. Lean back to release.
- Move your hands a little further out the spine of the scapula and repeat.
- Continue moving back a forth for at least a few times, checking with your partner to see if what you are feeling matching the pressure they enjoy.
Benefits: Stimulates Sen Kalathari; releases tension in the shoulders; helps to alleviate and prevent tension headaches.
Cautions: Be aware of the comfort of your own body position. This is an awkward pose you are taking, so put your comfort first, rather than hurting yourself. It can be helpful to have a pillow between your partner’s spine and your leg.
Prep Poses: Generally no need. This can be done anytime, anywhere. As usual, start this pose lightly and work deeper.
Counterposes: Anything at all, really. The release that this gives to the upper traps makes it especially nice before any shoulder openers (like the Pec Twist or Foot-to-Armpit), neck or head massage.
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