Adho Mukha Svanasana
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 …