It has been my experience that there are times when a hug feels like too much or not right or that it will not ease what hurts. First there is a need for an openness of heart, a little intrinsic brightness, some recognition of worthiness to receive the love, before a strong embrace feels right. In Anusara, we are taught to practice the opening, brightening, expanding principle of “opening to grace” before we draw in with the embrace of muscle energy.
“Shoulder loop” helps us refine muscle energy and by drawing the shoulder blades onto the back of the heart and then lifting and expanding the chest, it can be incredibly powerful and healing. My experience with shoulder loop, though, especially when I have active shoulder or neck pain, is that if I am at all collapsed, if I am not doing maximum “inner body bright” shoulder loop feels OK, but it it is much harder to access and receive. When I open to the possibilities by radically filling with light and energy, especially around the back of the heart — in a word, meeting the possibility of embrace from the inside out — then the embrace of shoulder loop is almost instantly healing and empowering.