Bring your awareness to your shoulders as you read this. Just notice how they feel right now and bookmark it for yourself.
Give your shoulders three big shrugs—by lifting and squeezing them as far as you can, up by your ears, and then quickly dropping them. As you drop, don’t push them down or press them back. Just let them rest, or float, on top of your ribs. Your ribs come all the way up to just above your collar bones. There is a lot of lung tissue in the back of you, which your ribs float on top of. Visualize, or sense how wide and deep your torso is. Your ribs are moving all the time with breath. They never stop moving gently in and out, and thinking about this can help you to visualize and sense how the shoulder blades and collar bones are floating on top of the breath and ribs.
There is no need to hold the shoulders anywhere. When people tell you to press your shoulders down and back, they are trying to get you to stop rounding your shoulders forward and collapsing the front of your torso. They don’t mean for you to tighten and narrow the back of your torso, which tires out the large back muscles. Instead, imagine that you are wearing epaulets, and those epaulets are releasing wider apart. Imagine there is a cotton ball size puff of air in the underarm area. This images can give you more space inside your upper torso, and allow for fuller and livelier breath.
Think of allowing the muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissues to soften and un-do any excess tension. You don’t need to Do anything. Just send a clear intention and that will be enough for your nervous system to make a change.
Can you sense some more ease now? Even if it feels “weird” to let your shoulders rest without pressing them somewhere, try it out for a while. Experiment with allowing the shoulder blades and collar bones to be “floating shoulder clouds” rather than a “shoulder girdle.”