I am delighted and really happy to let you know that next year, I will be co-hosting (alongside my colleague Aileen Orr) world renowned Yoga teacher Donna Farhi here in Edinburgh for a five day workshop.  In preparation for her visit, what hasn’t been so delightful is spending a lot of time on the computer getting all the information up on my website (definitely not my favourite thing).

My guess is that very few of us are immune to spending some portion of our day in front of a computer, tablet or smart phone.  And one of the things I learned during this period is that your habits (which you are not necessarily aware of) can really show up when you get caught up in your task and engrossed by what’s on your screen.  For me, I started to develop a neck and shoulder pain on my left side – which I did not associate initially with being on my computer a lot.

What Was Going On?

I was surprised and baffled, especially as I have a daily Somatic & Yoga practice which is very much focused on6645546549_c277278d47_o experiencing the body from the inside and leaves me feeling incredibly relaxed in my body.  What was going on?  I knew that there must be something I was doing during my day to create this tension and soreness in my shoulder.

So, what did I discover?  Well, I found out that when I sit for long periods at a computer I have a tendency to lean into my left hip (this contracts my left side waist muscles), which in turn draws my left shoulder down.  Until that moment, I had no idea that this was my pattern.

You Get Really Good At What You Practice

So whilst I felt the pain in the left shoulder and neck, it was actually due to a full body pattern of muscular contraction that involved the muscles at the centre of the body (in Somatics this particular pattern is known as the Trauma Reflex which I’ll talk about more in another post) and in this instance, I knew I needed to release my tight left side waist muscles first.

Thankfully, I know how to do this through Somatics and it’s what we will be exploring in my upcoming Freeing The Neck & Shoulders Workshop  – especially the connection of the neck & shoulders to the entire spine.  It will be wonderful for you if you work at a computer or spend a lot of time driving or just generally have chronic muscle tension in this area.

Here is a wonderful Somatic movement demonstrated by my teacher Martha Peterson that you can explore now.

A Somatic Exercise To Release The Neck & Shoulders


As well as being more mindful of how I’m sitting at my computer, I’ve also learnt to take more regular breaks as I know that when I get involved in what I’m doing, I’ll have a tendency to go back into my habits.  We were designed to move, so I make sure I get up and move about, I pandiculate my muscles to release tension and bring them back under control of my brain.

Over To You

Are you aware of what your habits are when you sit at your computer?  Do you tend to arch your back and pull your shoulders back – tightening all your back muscles?  Or do you hunch forward, rounding your shoulders in a slumped position – tightening the chest and abdominal muscles? Or maybe you’re like me and lean and tilt into one hip?  Please share what you’ve discovered in the comments below and anything that you’ve found helpful for you.


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Photo Credit: Flickr