You know more than you’ve ever cared to know about my spirit. You’ve gotten a bit of a frightening glance into my mind. But what about the body? This is the 3rd of the mind/body/spirit yoga trifecta. The body is what shows up to a yoga class, but so far hasn’t made much of an appearance on the blog. So join me in my practice. This is something you can do from the comfort of your home. Try it out. And then join me next week to see how its fleshed out into a class.
They carry the weight of my world. They are broad. They are strong. But they’re also tight and sticky and they crack and pop and lend to a not-so-perfect-posture.
Many people could apply those latter descriptions to their hip joints. My hips are ok–not perfect–but pretty flexible. And if you think about it, the shoulders are a similar joint to the hip in the motions it allows. Flexion, extension, abduction and adduction of the arm or leg. The hips get a lot of love in a yoga class, but this week I’m directing my attention north. To the shoulders.
Mobility, or range of motion in a joint is key to the health of the joint. Joints are the connectors of the rest of the body. Their health will in turn affect the ligaments, tendons, and muscles within the rest of the body. The shoulder is made up of a complex assortment of bones, muscles and joints. Yep, it isn’t just one joint. The three bones are the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade) and the humerus (long upper arm bone). And here’s where it gets geeky: the three joints. The glenohumeral (where humeral meets scapula), sternoclavicular (where clavicle meets sternum), and acromioclavicular (where the clavicle meets the scapula). And I won’t even get into the muscles and tendons, but all of these work together to become what we refer to as the shoulder girdle. When these are in relationship with one another it allows our arms to move in the ways they need to move. Without this, not only is there restricted mobility, but a stiff joint is more prone to injury.
The gallery below as well as the video above will stretch and strengthen the whole of the shoulder and with repeated practice give you a higher, smoother range of motion and healthier shoulder relationship.
Before: My fingertips don’t touch in the back, this is what I’m personally working towards. Maybe I’ll post an after. But if they don’t ever touch that’s ok too.
Side Note: Use a strap when needed. They are here to help! Try one out behind your back for a unique stretch in standing leg raise. But if fingertips can reach without forcing, use your fingertips as the bind in straddle fold and pyramid.
Take good care of your body, and have fun exploring the unique way you are strung together. This study becomes a lifetime of curiosity, exploration, and patient incremental improvement.