Adho Mukha Svanasana

Yoga Journal - - Practice Well -

Down­ward-Fac­ing Dog Pose When done cor­rectly, this pose can both heal an in­jury and strengthen the en­tire shoul­der gir­dle. When your arms are over­head and weight bear­ing (such as in Down Dog or Hand­stand), four move­ments in­form the safest po­si­tion for the shoul­der: • the scapu­lae should be pro­tracted

(mov­ing away from each other) • the scapu­lae should be de­pressed

(mov­ing down your back) • the scapu­lae should pivot up­ward

(up­ward ro­ta­tion) • the humerus should ro­tate ex­ter­nally

(spin back­ward) If you feel a pinch­ing sen­sa­tion any­where in your shoul­der, it is likely that you are not do­ing one of these ac­tions, thus set­ting the stage for pain and in­jury. Keep in mind that your shoul­der blades shouldn’t be up in your ears (if they are, it means your up­per trapez­ius, le­v­a­tor scapu­lae, and sub­clav­ius mus­cles are bear­ing a load that they shouldn’t be). In­stead, cre­ate a long, elegant “gi­raffe neck.” Fi­nally, main­tain Tadasana in your spine, and bend your knees as needed to en­sure the rib cage and scapu­lae are re­lat­ing well at the ScC joints. All of this will help to strengthen your shoul­ders—and your en­tire body.

If you want to heal an in­jury and strengthen your shoul­ders to pre­vent fu­ture prob­lems, prac­tice …

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