While I don't think it's explicitly mentioned in the book, it seems unrealistic to stretchsit for very long without good abdominal tone (not sure exactly which muscles).
Without good tone, it seems either the upper back has to arch back to compensate for gravity (leading to pain) or, if one maintains a straight upper back, the neck and shoulders have to work overtime to keep one from collapsing forward. After months of trying, I can never seem to get through a whole work day without either upper-back-pain or muscle soreness.
The only problem with good abdominal tone is it makes it harder to breathe, since it's unrealistic to breathe through our ribcage wall if we haven't been doing that our entire lives.
Has anyone else been through this cycle? How did you escape it?
18 min 16 sec ago
10/29/2013 - 4:01pm
I am so glad you continue to work with the Stretch-Sitting! My sense is that you are overdoing it.
The Stretch-sitting we want to be relaxed: the back rest of the chair is doing the work of lifting up your spine, and the rest of the body including the abdomen is relaxed, there is no “holding” of anything. The shoulders, once positioned back with the shoulder rolls are also relaxed. If the pecs (pectoralis major and minor) are tight and short from habitual hunching in the past and the rhomboids in the back are not very toned, then after a while the shoulders will migrate back to their familiar place and that is perfectly ok. That is expected. We are retraining our body to the new architecture and it takes time. It takes time because the brain and neural pathways are getting used to new configurations, then the tight muscles need to learn how to relax, weak muscles need to build up tone, but every time you do a Shoulder Roll and reposition your head/neck you are working on that. Your pecs and trapezius and rhomboids they are all getting a little workout with every Shoulder Roll ( and we don't want to over do with Shoulder Rolls either, every 30 min or so is Ok). You can also supplement it with some of our excercises from the back of the book pg 205, 206.
The same goes for the head/neck. We gently guide them to a more optimal placement but we don't force it. Any kind of sorness indicates the structures are not ready for that much change so we just back off a little. The changes, however seemingly small they are, are happening and they are cumulative.
And breating can, in a long run influence the shape of one's ribcage. Check out pg 27, Brian (Esther's husband) in the first picture his chest is all sunken in and in the second picture (a couple of decades later) Brian looks very different. His ribcage is much bigger, shoulders are sitting much more posteriorly, his neck is nice and long. Again, it does not happen over night, it takes whatever it takes but every little step in the right direction is an improvement.
Hope this helps!
Gokhale Method Teacher