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squarely on each other, theirweight tends to make the whole body fold at the joints: The hip joints tend to flex, so the legs fall forward and the pelvis hangs back, and the spine rends to round, making the chest cave in. To pull your body up against gravity, you have to tighten several large muscles very forcefully, especially the erector spinac of the back and the posterior deltoids of the shoulders. Whenyour alignment is out of whack, these muscles don't just contract intermittently as they do to correct bone alignment in a vertical pose; instead, you have to hold them constantly tense against the force of gravity to prevent your body from crumpling to the floor. Despite vour best efforts, your trunk usually remains partly collapsed in front, so it's hard to breathe.
Furthermore, if you try to straighten up without sufficient chest and shoulder flexibility your arms may lift off the floor. Your body then wavers, so you have to make frequent postural corrections by sharply contracting your already tense back muscles. The combination of tense muscles, difficult breathing, and constant vigilance causes rapid fatigue and, oftentimes, sharp pain in the back or elsewhere.
FLEXING AND EXTENDING We're focusing mainly on the arms, chest, and shoulders here, bur it's essential to mention that the ability to align your body vertically in Shoulderstand depends partly on how far you can flex your neck. If you can't flcxyour neck very far, you can compensate by elevating your shoulders on a stack of blankets and resting your head at a lower level. Then, your neck won't have to bend so far forward to get your body to the upright position, and your ability to stand straight will depend on how far you can extend your shoulders.
To understand what shoulder extension is, stand up, interlace your fingers behind your back, then lift your arms and chest upward while rolling the tops of your shoulder blades backward and down. This action of moving the arms behind you and up is shoulder extension. The higher you can lift your arms without collapsing your chest or shoulders, the greater your extension and the greater
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