Tripod Headstand To Crow Pose

Tripod Headstand to Crow for Controlled Access

inversions

TRIPOD HEADSTAND TO CROW POSE

When exploring an inversion like Tripod Headstand, the shoulder muscles become part of the primary focus. Tripod Headstand on its own can be challenging enough, but adding a controlled and safe transition into an arm balance like Crow Pose creates a whole new layer of understanding that must be taken into consideration. 

The rotator cuff muscles are great stabilizers of the shoulder girdle, so activating these muscles is key in the setup for both postures. Both a deeper grasp of the biomechanics of each posture on its own and an understanding of the specific movements, particularly in the area of the shoulders, help us maintain balance when exploring how to move between the two poses. In today’s video, Matt provides the details and step-by-step cues to master the transition from Tripod Headstand to Crow Pose.

chromatic yoga 15 hour immersion

SHOULDER MASTERY

WORKSHOP SERIES

    •  3 livestream workshops and replays
    • Nondogmatic and effective alignment
    • Improve low-back health
    • Shoulder mobility + heart openers
    • Shoulder strength + arm balances
    • Inversions, binds, neck & shoulder release
    • 6 hours of continued education
    • Gain strength and stability
    • Increase range of motion, flexibility, and mobility
    • Step-by-step guidance: Everyone can follow and participate
    • Educationally infused: Learn while you embody
    • Livestream optional; all workshops available as livestreams (see dates below) and as on-demand replays for life
    • Automatically receive access to the replays immediately after the livestream

    THE VERY FIRST STEP

    First, it’s simply about understanding what in our bodies we need to target in order to create the required stability for the setup in Tripod Headstand. At the beginning of the video, Matt offers an explanation for why the shoulders are important and how to effectively activate the appropriate muscles. When practicing with Matt, we understand that any time the hands are making contact with our mats, particularly in an inversion or arm balance, “gripping the ground” begins to send the correct channel of energy into the rest of the body. With this understanding, we can begin to see how this action affects what’s required in the shoulders: To activate the rotator cuff muscles, we take that grip of the ground and dial it outwards. This encourages the biceps to turn outwards and the elbows to turn inwards. Once these steps are in place, we can feel the rotator cuff muscles.

    WATCH THE VIDEO

    TRIPOD HEADSTAND TO CROW POSE: SHOULDER TECHNIQUES FOR CONTROLLED  ACCESS

    TRIPOD CROW

    Before the legs go upright in Tripod Headstand, we can explore Tripod Crow, which Matt demonstrates. Although there is no wall behind him in the demonstration, he recommends using a wall in the early stages of exploration.

    Tripod Crow allows us to get comfortable with the hand and head placement. This is important because of the adjustments that are necessary regarding the neck muscles.  

    The hands are roughly shoulder-width apart, and the head is placed down just shy of an equilateral triangle. This way, when we roll onto our heads, it becomes more of that equilateral setup. From here, we switch on the rotator cuff muscles (as described above), and then instead of sending the legs all the way up, we bring the knees onto the outer arms. Sending our gaze towards the floor then turns on the rear neck muscles for additional stability.

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    LEAN INTO THE PROGRESSION

    In this next stage, Matt demonstrates the entry into Tripod Headstand along with how to begin transitioning into Crow Pose. First, we can add onto Tripod Crow by hugging the knees in and creating an anterior tilt of the pelvis to then send the legs upwards. The next step allows us to explore the movement towards Crow Pose with some momentum. Instead of pausing, activating, and holding Crow Pose, we can practice “sitting the bum down” on the way out of Headstand and then leaning back to move more quickly towards taking our feet to the ground. Slowly progressing with more “hang time” and a bigger push into Crow will help us master this transition. A new shoulder action is also layered on in order to press into Crow Pose.

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    • Expand your teaching skills
    • Masterful sequencing and verbal delivery
    • Learn meditation and breathwork techniques
    • Transformative tools: theming, dharma talks, satsang
    • WINTER ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!

    PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

    Finally, the shoulder action that brings the final pieces of the puzzle together is the protraction of the scapulae. Once we’ve leaned back and practiced hanging in the longer balances between Tripod Headstand and the initial stages of Crow, we push the floor away, which encourages the protraction. Coupled with the external rotation of the upper arm bones, this action assists in realizing the safe, controlled access and stabilization of Crow. The shoulder actions ultimately dictate the experience we’ll have when working on this transition between the two postures. Moving from Tripod Headstand to Crow Pose requires a steadiness but also involves precise movement.  

    In Matt’s 3-part workshop, Shoulder Mastery, he broke down the vital steps for the shoulders when it comes to arm balances. In the upcoming final phase of the workshop, Matt will focus on inversions and binds. Register here for lifetime access!

    The 200 Hr. Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

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    Article by Trish Curling

    Videos Extracted From: Shoulder Mastery

    lotus pose online yoga classes

    ONLINE ANATOMY COURSE

    • Accessible, exciting, and easy to learn
    • Anatomy and biomechanics for yoga
    • Appropriate for both teachers and students
    • Learn joint alignment vs pose alignment
    • Demystify yoga poses and transitions
    • Release aches and pains
    • Learn how to avoid common injuries
    • Caters to all levels with modifications and props
    • 20 hours Continued Education Credits with Yoga Alliance
    • 20 hours toward Chromatic Yoga Certification and 300 Hour
    • Lifetime access

    Continue Learning

    Tripod Headstand To Crow Pose

    Tripod Headstand To Crow Pose

    Tripod Headstand to Crow for Controlled AccessinversionsTRIPOD HEADSTAND TO CROW POSE When exploring an inversion like Tripod Headstand, the shoulder muscles become part of the primary focus. Tripod Headstand on its own can be challenging enough, but adding a...

    read more
    Shoulder Connections

    Shoulder Connections

    Shoulder Connections 3 Postures for Increased Mobilityshoulder stabilitySHOULDER CONNECTIONS To increase mobility in our shoulders, we must first understand how they move, so we become more connected with their function and how they inform a variety of yoga postures....

    read more
    Deep Dive Into Chaturanga

    Deep Dive Into Chaturanga

    Deep Dive Into Chaturanga Shoulder Action Controversyshoulder stabilityDEEP DIVE INTO CHATURANGA Earlier this week, Matt posted a video on his Instagram page highlighting the shoulder blade movement that takes place in Chaturanga—moving from protraction to retraction....

    read more
    Strengthen Your “Shelf” For Mayurasana

    Strengthen Your “Shelf” For Mayurasana

    Strengthen Your "Shelf" for Mayurasana How to Prepare for This Unique Arm BalanceDELTOIDSSTRENGTHEN YOUR "SHELF" FOR MAYURASANA Let’s note that muscle groups do not work in isolation: The activation of accessory muscles, although not necessarily the focal point, are...

    read more
    What Are The Tilts Of The Scapula?

    What Are The Tilts Of The Scapula?

    What Are the Tilts of the Scapulae? 4 Postures to Help You Lock Into These Shoulder ActionsSHOULDER ROTATIONWHAT ARE THE TILTS OF THE SCAPULAE? When we first dive into studying anatomy, it’s all about the basics. Once the foundation is laid, it becomes easier to...

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    Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

    Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

    Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles 6 Exercises for a More Stable Side PlankBELIEFAWAKEN YOUR ROTATOR CUFF MUSCLES The rotator cuff muscles carry a great deal of responsibility. When healthy and strong, they help to keep the head of the humerus inside of the glenoid...

    read more

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    Shoulder Connections

    Shoulder Connections

    3 Postures for Increased Mobility

    shoulder stability

    SHOULDER CONNECTIONS

    To increase mobility in our shoulders, we must first understand how they move, so we become more connected with their function and how they inform a variety of yoga postures. The exploration with intentional techniques is the key to gaining access to these postures. 

    In regard to heart-opening postures, “shoulder connections” are also about understanding how the retraction of the shoulder blades affects the chest, rib cage, abdomen, and spine. In today’s video, Matt demonstrates the shoulder actions needed to access 3-Part Cobra, Upward Dog with blocks, and Wild Thing. The way that the retraction of the shoulder blades is applied in these postures will not only create the desired heart-opening shape but also strengthen the muscles necessary for healthy shoulder mobility.

    chromatic yoga 15 hour immersion

    SHOULDER MASTERY

    WORKSHOP SERIES

      •  3 livestream workshops and replays
      • Nondogmatic and effective alignment
      • Improve low-back health
      • Shoulder mobility + heart openers
      • Shoulder strength + arm balances
      • Inversions, binds, neck & shoulder release
      • 6 hours of continued education
      • Gain strength and stability
      • Increase range of motion, flexibility, and mobility
      • Step-by-step guidance: Everyone can follow and participate
      • Educationally infused: Learn while you embody
      • Livestream optional; all workshops available as livestreams (see dates below) and as on-demand replays for life
      • Automatically receive access to the replays immediately after the livestream

      3-PART COBRA

      The sequence of actions in this posture teaches us the ability to authentically stretch the front body and strengthen the back body. There’s a greater requirement for us to recruit the muscles in the upper body due to the decreased reliance on the hands to hold us up (if we allow it). In the video, Matt starts the sequence of lifting the upper body off the floor by first using the leverage of the hands; in order to reduce compression in the lower back, he sends the rib cage forward, then pulls the belly in and up. Here’s the key though: It’s the activation of the rear deltoids, the retraction of the shoulder blades, and the action of pulling the chest through the shoulders that creates the “bowing of the spine” required in all backbends. 

      WATCH THE VIDEO

      SHOULDER CONNECTIONS: 3 POSTURES FOR INCREASED MOBILITY

      UPWARD-FACING DOG: PREPARATION WITH BLOCKS

      If we pay attention to the smaller, more intricate details within the application of techniques in a posture, the benefits become more profound. First, Matt demonstrates the simple action of turning the fingers outward on the blocks. Lifting the shoulders up and back now becomes more accessible, which encourages the action of external rotation in the arms, promoting retraction of the scapulae and allowing for more opportunity to contract and strengthen the rear deltoids, rhomboids, lower fibers of the trapezius muscles, and the latissimi dorsi. The final action is to push the hands down into the blocks to access increased spinal extension along with greater heart opening.  

      200 Hour Online Teacher Training Certification

      200 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

      GET CERTIFIED & DEEPEN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE

      • Deepen your yoga practice
      • Build confidence speaking in front of groups in person and online
      • Learn foundational class structures and templates
      • Learn techniques for a wide range of yoga postures
      • Get certified and highly qualified to teach yoga
      • Yoga Alliance Globally Recognized Certification Program
      • WINTER ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!

      WILD THING

      In Wild Thing, there are 3 shoulder actions that help create more expansion and mobility in the shoulders. First, we lift the bottom shoulder up, move it back (retract), and then bring the bottom wing tip of the shoulder blade around. These actions send the chest forward and up. The posture is different, but the same actions apply here as in 3-Part Cobra. In the full class, Matt reminds us that it can be easy to lose the integrity of the positioning of the shoulder once we start to lift up into the pose, but if we continue to connect with the sensation of muscle contraction between the shoulder blades, there’s more success in maintaining the shoulder position. Ideally, the chest is above the height of the shoulder. In order to gain shoulder mobility, we must build strength and endurance in the muscles associated with and connected to the shoulders. Stretching alone will not have the same effect.

      300 hour teacher training online

      300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

      GET 500 HOUR CERTIFIED AS A MASTER TEACHER

      Master your skill set as a teacher through refined techniques, anatomy, biomechanics, sequencing, philosophy, meditation techniques, theming, yoga business, and much more!

      • Get 500 hour certified
      • Learn anatomy, biomechanics, asana techniques
      • Expand your teaching skills
      • Masterful sequencing and verbal delivery
      • Learn meditation and breathwork techniques
      • Transformative tools: theming, dharma talks, satsang
      • WINTER ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!

      SHOULDER MOBILITY

      Shoulder mobility means having the ability to move the joint through the full range of motion. We can see why this is beneficial when it comes to heart openers: In order to find expansion, we need to be able to move the shoulder joint freely and safely. Strengthening also means better stability. In postures like Wild Thing, where we’re balancing on one arm, stability and strength are a must for a solid foundation.  

      Exploring the shoulder actions multiple times within a practice helps us record the biomechanics in our bodies. This is the reasoning behind the layering of actions and postures in a Chromatic Yoga class.

      In the 2nd week of Matt’s current 3-part workshop, Shoulder Mastery, he delves into shoulder strength for arm balances. Register and get access to this class and to last week’s class about the shoulders and heart openers.

      See you on the mat!

      The 200 Hr. Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

      The 300 Hr. Advanced Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

      Article by Trish Curling

      Videos Extracted From: Shoulder Mastery

      lotus pose online yoga classes

      ONLINE ANATOMY COURSE

      • Accessible, exciting, and easy to learn
      • Anatomy and biomechanics for yoga
      • Appropriate for both teachers and students
      • Learn joint alignment vs pose alignment
      • Demystify yoga poses and transitions
      • Release aches and pains
      • Learn how to avoid common injuries
      • Caters to all levels with modifications and props
      • 20 hours Continued Education Credits with Yoga Alliance
      • 20 hours toward Chromatic Yoga Certification and 300 Hour
      • Lifetime access

      Continue Learning

      Tripod Headstand To Crow Pose

      Tripod Headstand To Crow Pose

      Tripod Headstand to Crow for Controlled AccessinversionsTRIPOD HEADSTAND TO CROW POSE When exploring an inversion like Tripod Headstand, the shoulder muscles become part of the primary focus. Tripod Headstand on its own can be challenging enough, but adding a...

      read more
      Shoulder Connections

      Shoulder Connections

      Shoulder Connections 3 Postures for Increased Mobilityshoulder stabilitySHOULDER CONNECTIONS To increase mobility in our shoulders, we must first understand how they move, so we become more connected with their function and how they inform a variety of yoga postures....

      read more
      Deep Dive Into Chaturanga

      Deep Dive Into Chaturanga

      Deep Dive Into Chaturanga Shoulder Action Controversyshoulder stabilityDEEP DIVE INTO CHATURANGA Earlier this week, Matt posted a video on his Instagram page highlighting the shoulder blade movement that takes place in Chaturanga—moving from protraction to retraction....

      read more
      Strengthen Your “Shelf” For Mayurasana

      Strengthen Your “Shelf” For Mayurasana

      Strengthen Your "Shelf" for Mayurasana How to Prepare for This Unique Arm BalanceDELTOIDSSTRENGTHEN YOUR "SHELF" FOR MAYURASANA Let’s note that muscle groups do not work in isolation: The activation of accessory muscles, although not necessarily the focal point, are...

      read more
      What Are The Tilts Of The Scapula?

      What Are The Tilts Of The Scapula?

      What Are the Tilts of the Scapulae? 4 Postures to Help You Lock Into These Shoulder ActionsSHOULDER ROTATIONWHAT ARE THE TILTS OF THE SCAPULAE? When we first dive into studying anatomy, it’s all about the basics. Once the foundation is laid, it becomes easier to...

      read more
      Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

      Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

      Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles 6 Exercises for a More Stable Side PlankBELIEFAWAKEN YOUR ROTATOR CUFF MUSCLES The rotator cuff muscles carry a great deal of responsibility. When healthy and strong, they help to keep the head of the humerus inside of the glenoid...

      read more

      THE FREE TECHNIQUE PACK

      When You Subscribe, You Will Get Instant Access to

      • the Technique Pack: 15 yoga pose breakdowns
      • exclusive online course discounts
      • exclusive blogs and videos
      • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

      Deep Dive Into Chaturanga

      Deep Dive Into Chaturanga

      Shoulder Action Controversy

      shoulder stability

      DEEP DIVE INTO CHATURANGA

      Earlier this week, Matt posted a video on his Instagram page highlighting the shoulder blade movement that takes place in Chaturanga—moving from protraction to retraction. This can be a tricky subject, and it was cause for some discussion in the comments on that video. He goes into more detail here

      When we’re taught to do something (such as the execution of a yoga posture) a certain way, it may be difficult to consider an alternative. The Chromatic yoga approach, however, is a nondogmatic one and requires that we create our own understanding through action and being open to new possibilities. There is always room for perspective. Now, Chaturanga can be a challenging posture due to the strength it requires, but in today’s video, we see a breakdown of the steps and gain insight into the anatomy in order to make informed choices in our yoga practice.

      chromatic yoga 15 hour immersion

      SHOULDER MASTERY

      WORKSHOP SERIES

        •  3 livestream workshops and replays
        • Nondogmatic and effective alignment
        • Improve low-back health
        • Shoulder mobility + heart openers
        • Shoulder strength + arm balances
        • Inversions, binds, neck & shoulder release
        • 6 hours of continued education
        • Gain strength and stability
        • Increase range of motion, flexibility, and mobility
        • Step-by-step guidance: Everyone can follow and participate
        • Educationally infused: Learn while you embody
        • Livestream optional; all workshops available as livestreams (see dates below) and as on-demand replays for life
        • Automatically receive access to the replays immediately after the livestream

        SEQUENCING FOR THE SHOULDERS

        The intelligent sequencing offered in a Chromatic yoga class helps us prepare our bodies for optimal positioning in a given posture.

        In Chaturanga, there is a tendency for the scapulae to anterior tilt, causing the shoulders to punch forward into the anterior portion of the shoulder capsule. Over time, this can cause pain and/or increased wear and tear on the joint, not to mention the implications it may have for the neck, shoulders, back, and chest. What’s necessary is a healthy degree of external rotation. Matt demonstrates a few drills with a strap and blocks that help pattern the body in how to create the external rotation required for the pose. Why is this important? These drills teach us how to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles, which will help stabilize the shoulder joint and recruit the serratus anterior for a stronger descent in Chaturanga.

        WATCH THE VIDEO

        DEEP DIVE INTO CHATURANGA: SHOULDER ACTION CONTROVERSY

        STRAP SETUP FOR THE SHOULDERS

        These drills help us understand the foundations of the shoulder mechanics for Chaturanga.

        Pull the Strap Apart

        Here are the four key actions:

        1. Take an underhand grip of the strap.
        2. Pull the strap apart.
        3. Move the shoulder heads back.
        4. Bring the elbows in and forward.

        This drill is not static; when watching the video, we see that there is actually movement back and forth, which will help strengthen the rotator cuff muscles.

        Block in the Palm & Between the Elbow and the Body

        This drill can be done without  a block; however, the block between the body and elbow adds that extra awareness of activation and reminds to keep our elbows more narrow.

        Essentially what’s happening here are movements back and forth between the internal and external rotation of the humerus. Holding the additional block in the supinated palm of the same arm helps emphasize the required external rotation for Chaturanga.

        STRAP SETUP FOR THE SHOULDERS

        These drills help us understand the foundations of the shoulder mechanics for Chaturanga.

        Pull the Strap Apart

        Here are the four key actions:

        1. Take an underhand grip of the strap.
        2. Pull the strap apart.
        3. Move the shoulder heads back.
        4. Bring the elbows in and forward.

        This drill is not static; when watching the video, we see that there is actually movement back and forth, which will help strengthen the rotator cuff muscles.

        Block in the Palm & Between the Elbow and the Body

        This drill can be done without  a block; however, the block between the body and elbow adds that extra awareness of activation and reminds to keep our elbows more narrow.

        Essentially what’s happening here are movements back and forth between the internal and external rotation of the humerus. Holding the additional block in the supinated palm of the same arm helps emphasize the required external rotation for Chaturanga.

        200 Hour Online Teacher Training Certification

        200 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

        GET CERTIFIED & DEEPEN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE

        • Deepen your yoga practice
        • Build confidence speaking in front of groups in person and online
        • Learn foundational class structures and templates
        • Learn techniques for a wide range of yoga postures
        • Get certified and highly qualified to teach yoga
        • Yoga Alliance Globally Recognized Certification Program
        • WINTER ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!

        CHATURANGA AT THE WALL

        Transitioning to Chaturanga at the wall takes us to a closer setup of what position our bodies will be in. Of course, we are perpendicular to the floor in this variation, but we can negotiate hand and shoulder placement without the strength element. Matt has shown us variations at the wall before, and they are always helpful in navigating a posture.

        One of the key points in this variation, however, is the push through the heel of the hands. This action both brings the bottom wing tip of the scapulae through the arm bone, which encourages the head of the humerus to pull back, and it helps recruit the muscles of the serratus anterior. We also gain a “band of stability” in the upper body once this is in place. Once we’ve explored here, it’s time to take Chaturanga to the mat.

        300 hour teacher training online

        300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

        GET 500 HOUR CERTIFIED AS A MASTER TEACHER

        Master your skill set as a teacher through refined techniques, anatomy, biomechanics, sequencing, philosophy, meditation techniques, theming, yoga business, and much more!

        • Get 500 hour certified
        • Learn anatomy, biomechanics, asana techniques
        • Expand your teaching skills
        • Masterful sequencing and verbal delivery
        • Learn meditation and breathwork techniques
        • Transformative tools: theming, dharma talks, satsang
        • WINTER ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!

        WHY PROTRACTION TO RETRACTION?

        In the video, Matt demonstrates how the shoulder blades come in towards one another on the descent portion of Chaturanga. This is what might conjure up some controversy. Matt explains that we’re not just easily allowing them to come together; instead, we’re still trying to resist the retraction in the lowering phase until we’re almost at the ground level. It’s therefore a “fight” between the actions of protraction and retraction of the scapulae.

        Remember the “push through the heel of the hand”? This ignites the protraction. The goal is to allow the shoulder blades to retract at a slow pace. Too often, we find that if there is no retraction, we can fall into the anterior tilt of the scapulae more easily. If there is no movement of the scapulae, it can affect the muscles in the front and the back of the neck by causing more strain.

        ALLOW MOVEMENT TO TAKE PLACE

        In this full workshop (The Shoulder Reset), Matt explains that going from protraction to retraction means that we are allowing the shoulder joint to move as it was designed. We are allowing gravity to do its job. When allowing the movement from protraction to retraction to take place, we are creating an eccentric contraction, which will offer a smooth descent. It will also translate into creating lightness and ease in a jump back.

        The good news is that Matt’s offering a 3-part workshop series this month, Shoulder Mastery The education we can look forward to will have a profound effect on our yoga practice overall.  

        Part I is all about shoulder mobility and heart openers, and Part II delves into shoulder strength and arm balances. Part III tackles inversions, binds, and neck & shoulder releases.

        Click Shoulder Mastery to register.

        See you on the mat!

        The 200 Hr. Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

        The 300 Hr. Advanced Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

        Article by Trish Curling

        Videos Extracted From: The Shoulder Reset

        lotus pose online yoga classes

        ONLINE ANATOMY COURSE

        • Accessible, exciting, and easy to learn
        • Anatomy and biomechanics for yoga
        • Appropriate for both teachers and students
        • Learn joint alignment vs pose alignment
        • Demystify yoga poses and transitions
        • Release aches and pains
        • Learn how to avoid common injuries
        • Caters to all levels with modifications and props
        • 20 hours Continued Education Credits with Yoga Alliance
        • 20 hours toward Chromatic Yoga Certification and 300 Hour
        • Lifetime access

        Continue Learning

        Tripod Headstand To Crow Pose

        Tripod Headstand To Crow Pose

        Tripod Headstand to Crow for Controlled AccessinversionsTRIPOD HEADSTAND TO CROW POSE When exploring an inversion like Tripod Headstand, the shoulder muscles become part of the primary focus. Tripod Headstand on its own can be challenging enough, but adding a...

        read more
        Shoulder Connections

        Shoulder Connections

        Shoulder Connections 3 Postures for Increased Mobilityshoulder stabilitySHOULDER CONNECTIONS To increase mobility in our shoulders, we must first understand how they move, so we become more connected with their function and how they inform a variety of yoga postures....

        read more
        Deep Dive Into Chaturanga

        Deep Dive Into Chaturanga

        Deep Dive Into Chaturanga Shoulder Action Controversyshoulder stabilityDEEP DIVE INTO CHATURANGA Earlier this week, Matt posted a video on his Instagram page highlighting the shoulder blade movement that takes place in Chaturanga—moving from protraction to retraction....

        read more
        Strengthen Your “Shelf” For Mayurasana

        Strengthen Your “Shelf” For Mayurasana

        Strengthen Your "Shelf" for Mayurasana How to Prepare for This Unique Arm BalanceDELTOIDSSTRENGTHEN YOUR "SHELF" FOR MAYURASANA Let’s note that muscle groups do not work in isolation: The activation of accessory muscles, although not necessarily the focal point, are...

        read more
        What Are The Tilts Of The Scapula?

        What Are The Tilts Of The Scapula?

        What Are the Tilts of the Scapulae? 4 Postures to Help You Lock Into These Shoulder ActionsSHOULDER ROTATIONWHAT ARE THE TILTS OF THE SCAPULAE? When we first dive into studying anatomy, it’s all about the basics. Once the foundation is laid, it becomes easier to...

        read more
        Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

        Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

        Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles 6 Exercises for a More Stable Side PlankBELIEFAWAKEN YOUR ROTATOR CUFF MUSCLES The rotator cuff muscles carry a great deal of responsibility. When healthy and strong, they help to keep the head of the humerus inside of the glenoid...

        read more

        THE FREE TECHNIQUE PACK

        When You Subscribe, You Will Get Instant Access to

        • the Technique Pack: 15 yoga pose breakdowns
        • exclusive online course discounts
        • exclusive blogs and videos
        • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

        Strengthen Your “Shelf” For Mayurasana

        Strengthen Your “Shelf” for Mayurasana

        How to Prepare for This Unique Arm Balance

        DELTOIDS

        STRENGTHEN YOUR “SHELF” FOR MAYURASANA

        Let’s note that muscle groups do not work in isolation: The activation of accessory muscles, although not necessarily the focal point, are an integral part of the execution of a posture. In Mayurasana, the anterior deltoids and rotator cuff muscles may not be part of your first thoughts regarding how to execute this posture, but without considering the role they play, we simply will not be able to create the “shelf” required to create the balance we need in this posture. There is obvious core activation, not to mention strength and activation in the glutes and hamstrings, but the shelf Matt refers to in this class is the ability to hug the elbows in as tightly as possible so as to create an anchor for the pose. The anterior deltoids and rotator cuff muscles offer support, stability, and strength in Mayurasana.

        chromatic yoga 15 hour immersion

        SHOULDER MASTERY

        WORKSHOP SERIES

          •  3 livestream workshops and replays
          • Nondogmatic and effective alignment
          • Improve low-back health
          • Shoulder mobility + heart openers
          • Shoulder strength + arm balances
          • Inversions, binds, neck & shoulder release
          • 6 hours of continued education
          • Gain strength and stability
          • Increase range of motion, flexibility, and mobility
          • Step-by-step guidance: Everyone can follow and participate
          • Educationally infused: Learn while you embody
          • Livestream optional; all workshops available as livestreams (see dates below) and as on-demand replays for life
          • Automatically receive access to the replays immediately after the livestream

          BLOCK SQUEEZE DRILL

          In terms of teaching Mayurasana, Matt notes that it’s not an easy pose to sequence towards. Not many other postures mimic the mandatory actions, but there are certainly creative movements and drills we can incorporate into our practice in order to cultivate the inescapable strength required for Mayurasana. Of course, Matt demonstrates the actions we can take to strengthen the appropriate muscle groups. Included in this preparation, in particular for the shelf in Mayurasana, are the biceps, pectoralis muscles, anterior deltoids, and rotator cuff.

          Today’s video starts off with a “block squeeze” drill. The block is squeezed between the forearms with bent elbows, while the arms are externally rotated. Our palms are facing forward, and the upper back is rounded while we “sit” in a Chair Pose position. The pectoralis muscles are engaged, but it’s the external rotation that helps us target the rotator cuff muscles.

          WATCH THE VIDEO

          STRENGTHEN YOUR “SHELF” FOR MAYURASANA: HOW TO PREPARE FOR THIS UNIQUE ARM BALANCE

          MAYURASANA AT THE WALL AND ON YOUR BACK

          Mayurasana at the Wall

          Here, we can practice mimicking what we did in the block drill—squeezing our elbows in towards each other. In addition, the feeling of “trying to pull the wall up” turns on the pectoralis major, the anterior deltoids, and the biceps. We can’t lift our legs here, but we can practice the sensation of pulling our feet back to activate the glutes and hamstrings.

          Mayurasana on Your Back

          By pressing our feet into the ground in this variation, we can get more feedback and activation of the glutes and hamstrings. In the upper body, we practice the shape by rounding the back and placing our arms as if to set up the shelf on top of the rib cage. 

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          MAYURASANA “MASTERY”

          In the full class, Matt reminds us that creating the shelf with our arms doesn’t mean that we are resting on top of them. What we’re actually doing is setting up a strong base, our negotiating point for balance. To achieve the final expression of the posture, it’s the angle of the bend at the elbows, the grip of the ground with the fingers, and the strength in the shoulders and upper body that allow us to shift and find the sweet spot that supports the lift of the legs. In today’s video, you’ll see how Matt shifts his weight back and forth before he locks in to the next step, where he finds authentic balance and uses the strength of the core, glutes, and hamstrings to lift his legs. The trust in the foundation that’s been created allows for this masterful execution of Mayurasana.

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          300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

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          • WINTER ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!

          KEY ACTIONS IN THIS ARM BALANCE

          Here are the 2 key actions Matt outlines for Mayurasana (we’ll find them in most arm balance postures):

          1. Bending the elbows at an open angle (helps to stop us from falling)
          2. Intentionally leaning forward while trying to stop at the same time

          For Mayurasana, more than building strength in the shoulders, biceps, core, glutes, and hamstrings, it’s about how to be very intentional in the drills we implement in our yoga practice. The only way to become masterful is to be informed and guided through drills like these and, of course, to practice the posture itself.

          In Matt’s upcoming 3-part series, Shoulder Mastery, he’ll delve into more about shoulder strength for arm balances, along with a deeper understanding of the shoulders when it comes to inversions, binds, and even releasing the neck.

          Strength without action offers no direction. Register for the workshop series today!

          The 200 Hr. Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

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          Article by Trish Curling

          Videos Extracted From: Anatomy of Arm Balances

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          ONLINE ANATOMY COURSE

          • Accessible, exciting, and easy to learn
          • Anatomy and biomechanics for yoga
          • Appropriate for both teachers and students
          • Learn joint alignment vs pose alignment
          • Demystify yoga poses and transitions
          • Release aches and pains
          • Learn how to avoid common injuries
          • Caters to all levels with modifications and props
          • 20 hours Continued Education Credits with Yoga Alliance
          • 20 hours toward Chromatic Yoga Certification and 300 Hour
          • Lifetime access

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          Tripod Headstand To Crow Pose

          Tripod Headstand To Crow Pose

          Tripod Headstand to Crow for Controlled AccessinversionsTRIPOD HEADSTAND TO CROW POSE When exploring an inversion like Tripod Headstand, the shoulder muscles become part of the primary focus. Tripod Headstand on its own can be challenging enough, but adding a...

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          What Are The Tilts Of The Scapula?

          What Are the Tilts of the Scapulae?

          4 Postures to Help You Lock Into These Shoulder Actions

          SHOULDER ROTATION

          WHAT ARE THE TILTS OF THE SCAPULAE?

          When we first dive into studying anatomy, it’s all about the basics. Once the foundation is laid, it becomes easier to scaffold more information. There will always be a learning curve, however, especially in the context of yoga. In Chromatic yoga, it’s about more than intellectually understanding anatomy; it’s also about how we integrate our knowledge of anatomy into our bodies from a non-dogmatic point of view.

          When studying shoulder anatomy, we are introduced to the basic actions (protraction, retraction, depression, and elevation). In today’s clip, Matt introduces us to the idea of “the tilts of the scapulae.” He explains that it can be a difficult concept to understand, both intellectually and physically. Essentially, it requires the co-activation of opposing muscle groups in order to create a lock for maximum support around the shoulder girdle. We gain insight into the tilts of the scapulae via 4 postures in today’s video.

          chromatic yoga 15 hour immersion

          THE SHOULDER RESET

          2-HOUR LIVESTREAM WORKSHOP!

            • Technique-infused 2-hour workshop
            • Non-dogmatic alignment awareness
            • Chest/heart flexibility
            • Increase active range of motion of the shoulder
            • Learn shoulder anatomy as you practice
            • Strengthen rotator cuff for stability and shoulder health
            • Gain access to shoulder-focused postures
            • Debunk popular alignment
            • Skillfully guided sequence by the founder of Chromatic Yoga, Matt Giordano

            UPWARD VS. DOWNWARD TILT OF THE SCAPULA

            Upward Tilt

            To begin integrating the upward tilt of the scapula into our bodies, we can begin by sitting upright and sending the shoulder forward while drawing the elbow back. This naturally sends the scapula climbing up over the rib cage.  It’s the pectoralis minor that initiates this action. This muscle helps pull the shoulder down towards the front of the ribs.

            Downward Tilt

            This can be harder to understand and integrate. The first step here may be to draw the head of the humerus back. When this happens, the bottom wing tip of the scapula pushes forward into the rib cage.  

            If we pull the rib cage back into the scapulae, as Matt explains in the full class, this creates a “suction cup” effect from the co-activation of opposing muscle groups. This is effective in our yoga practice when stability is required in postures like Chaturanga and arm balances like Side Crow.

            WATCH THE VIDEO

            WHAT ARE THE TILTS OF THE SCAPULAE?: 4 POSTURES TO LOCK IN ON THESE SHOULDER ACTIONS

            SIDE-ANGLE PREPARATION

            Part of integrating and understanding the upward and downward tilt of the scapulae is to explore the actions in postures in which we can remove some of the balance and strength elements from the equation. 

            When Matt demonstrates the downward tilt of the bottom scapula in Side-Angle Preparation, he explains that there is a distinction between where retraction and protraction take place. The initial action is still to pull the head of the humerus back, but understanding that there is a degree of retraction in the upper border of the scapula but protraction in the bottom wingtip helps us to negotiate its placement. We create the  protraction by pressing the elbow down into the top of the leg; this helps the bottom tip slide forward. From here, we can explore what the sensation feels like in order to record this pattern into our bodies.   

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            CHATURANGA AND JUMP BACKS

            In Chaturanga, it can be easy to fall into the pattern of allowing the head of the humerus to dip forward. When this happens, it’s very different from creating protraction. Repetitively allowing the head of the humerus to dip forward can cause strain in the anterior capsule of the shoulder. The goal is to create a play between the actions of external rotation of the humerus and protraction, depression, and retraction of the scapulae.  

            For Chaturanga Jump Backs, Matt presents a drill utilizing a towel. Again, we get an opportunity to practice the actions of external rotation of the arms, pulling the top of the arm bone back. Matt also reminds us that we can start by sending the scapulae into upward rotation to more distinctly feel the difference, and then execute the actions that will help us stabilize the jump back with the downward tilt of the scapulae. 

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            • Get 500 hour certified
            • Learn anatomy, biomechanics, asana techniques
            • Expand your teaching skills
            • Masterful sequencing and verbal delivery
            • Learn meditation and breathwork techniques
            • Transformative tools: theming, dharma talks, satsang
            • WINTER ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!

            SIDE CROW

            In an arm balance like Side Crow, it’s imperative to feel more confident in our ability to “lock in” to the stability required. Because it’s required to send our weight forward in order to access the lift of the feet in the posture, we must be careful not to lean into an upward tilt—this would lead to imbalance in the posture and perhaps to a fall. In the clip, we see how the emphasis of pushing into the heel of the hands (which brings the bottom tip of the scapulae around) while sending the chest through (which draws the head of the arm bone back) and sending the weight forward into the fingers is ultimately what helps us access the balance required for Side Crow.

            ALLOW YOURSELF TIME FOR FULL INTEGRATION

            Ultimately, being patient enough to understand and integrate these actions will transform our experience in our practice. Exploring these actions in a variety of postures will take us on a journey of self discovery. We can tap into what comes naturally; at the same time, we can discover where we experience challenge and resistance. In the full class, Matt explains that upward and downward tilt of the scapulae can be difficult to comprehend. What this means is that it may require more persistence to uncover what is possible in our bodies.

            Register for Matt’s 2-hour online shoulder workshop, The Shoulder Reset, where there will be an abundance of opportunities to more deeply connect to and understand the biomechanics of the shoulders and how these new understandings can be applied to our yoga practice. 

            The 200 Hr. Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

            The 300 Hr. Advanced Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

            Article by Trish Curling

            Videos Extracted From: Shoulder Revelation

            lotus pose online yoga classes

            ONLINE ANATOMY COURSE

            • Accessible, exciting, and easy to learn
            • Anatomy and biomechanics for yoga
            • Appropriate for both teachers and students
            • Learn joint alignment vs pose alignment
            • Demystify yoga poses and transitions
            • Release aches and pains
            • Learn how to avoid common injuries
            • Caters to all levels with modifications and props
            • 20 hours Continued Education Credits with Yoga Alliance
            • 20 hours toward Chromatic Yoga Certification and 300 Hour
            • Lifetime access

            Continue Learning

            Tripod Headstand To Crow Pose

            Tripod Headstand To Crow Pose

            Tripod Headstand to Crow for Controlled AccessinversionsTRIPOD HEADSTAND TO CROW POSE When exploring an inversion like Tripod Headstand, the shoulder muscles become part of the primary focus. Tripod Headstand on its own can be challenging enough, but adding a...

            read more
            Shoulder Connections

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            read more
            Deep Dive Into Chaturanga

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            read more
            Strengthen Your “Shelf” For Mayurasana

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            read more
            What Are The Tilts Of The Scapula?

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            read more
            Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

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            Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles 6 Exercises for a More Stable Side PlankBELIEFAWAKEN YOUR ROTATOR CUFF MUSCLES The rotator cuff muscles carry a great deal of responsibility. When healthy and strong, they help to keep the head of the humerus inside of the glenoid...

            read more

            THE FREE TECHNIQUE PACK

            When You Subscribe, You Will Get Instant Access to

            • the Technique Pack: 15 yoga pose breakdowns
            • exclusive online course discounts
            • exclusive blogs and videos
            • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

            Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

            Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

            6 Exercises for a More Stable Side Plank

            BELIEF

            AWAKEN YOUR ROTATOR CUFF MUSCLES

            The rotator cuff muscles carry a great deal of responsibility. When healthy and strong, they help to keep the head of the humerus inside of the glenoid fossa, the cavity of the joint. Because it’s a ball and socket joint, the shoulder joint can be quite vulnerable, so awareness of its positioning in postures that require stability is essential. On the mat, there are many opportunities to bear weight on the shoulders, which can prove challenging if we don’t know how to stabilize in postures that require this type of support. Moreover, if we neglect to maintain activation where necessary, we miss opportunities to build strength.  

            A posture like Vashistasana, Side Plank, requires a vast amount of stability and strength. In today’s video, Matt demonstrates 6 essential exercises that help strengthen our rotator cuff muscles for maximum stability.

            chromatic yoga 15 hour immersion

            THE SHOULDER RESET

            2-HOUR LIVESTREAM WORKSHOP!

              • Technique-infused 2-hour workshop
              • Non-dogmatic alignment awareness
              • Chest/heart flexibility
              • Increase active range of motion of the shoulder
              • Learn shoulder anatomy as you practice
              • Strengthen rotator cuff for stability and shoulder health
              • Gain access to shoulder-focused postures
              • Debunk popular alignment
              • Skillfully guided sequence by the founder of Chromatic Yoga, Matt Giordano

              ROTATOR CUFF: GET IN TOUCH WITH THE ANATOMY

              There are 5 muscles in the rotator cuff group: the subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres major, and teres minor. These are the muscles of internal and external rotation and of abduction.

              The subscapularis and teres major are responsible for internal rotation, while the teres minor and infraspinatus are both external rotators. The last muscle, supraspinatus, contributes to the abduction of the arms.

              When all of these muscles are co-activated, they suction and secure the head of the humerus into the shoulder socket. In the full class, Matt explains that these muscles are often stretched during our asana practice. For yoga practitioners, it’s therefore vital to create opportunities to strengthen these muscles for overall function, health, and longevity. This can be integrated into our practice on the mat, particularly if we understand the anatomy involved in performing a given exercise to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles.

              WATCH THE VIDEO

              AWAKEN YOUR ROTATOR CUFF MUSCLES: 6 EXERCISES FOR A MORE STABLE SIDE PLANK

              6 EXERCISES FOR STRENGTH

              Strengthen with a Strap

              1. Matt demonstrates ways to strengthen the infraspinatus and teres minor by pulling the strap apart into external rotation of the humerus, along with some retraction of the shoulder blades.  
              2. Adding extra rotation and resistance will uplevel the activation.

              Towel Rotations

              1. In Tabletop position, drawing circles with a towel under one hand will immediately activate the rotator cuff muscles due to the weight-bearing nature of the exercise.
              2. Here, understanding the difference between rotation at the radioulnar joint and the upper arm bone is key in connecting to the rotator cuff.

              Block Raises

              1. Supraspinatus goes to work while holding yoga blocks and abducting your arms in slight internal rotation.
              2. Pushing the blocks back behind us while hugging in will again help activate the infraspinatus and teres major and minor.

              200 Hour Online Teacher Training Certification

              200 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

              GET CERTIFIED & DEEPEN YOUR YOGA PRACTICE

              • Deepen your yoga practice
              • Build confidence speaking in front of groups in person and online
              • Learn foundational class structures and templates
              • Learn techniques for a wide range of yoga postures
              • Get certified and highly qualified to teach yoga
              • Yoga Alliance Globally Recognized Certification Program
              • WINTER ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!

              STABILIZE YOUR SIDE PLANK

              There are articulations and joint alignments that are essential in creating healthy stability in Side Plank. In this variation, Matt demonstrates Extended Side Plank, utilizing a wall as a prop. The wall creates feedback that helps us better negotiate where and how to align the wrist and shoulder and to determine the distance between the standing hand and the feet.

              In order to create stability in this posture, it’s imperative to retract the shoulder blade and externally rotate the humerus, which activates the infraspinatus and teres minor. Moving our hips (and thus more weight) towards the wall takes the shoulder away from directly stacking over the wrist, which helps to reduce the load on the shoulder joint. Once the foundation is set, expanding into the rest of the posture becomes more accessible.

              300 hour teacher training online

              300 HOUR ONLINE TEACHER TRAINING

              GET 500 HOUR CERTIFIED AS A MASTER TEACHER

              Master your skill set as a teacher through refined techniques, anatomy, biomechanics, sequencing, philosophy, meditation techniques, theming, yoga business, and much more!

              • Get 500 hour certified
              • Learn anatomy, biomechanics, asana techniques
              • Expand your teaching skills
              • Masterful sequencing and verbal delivery
              • Learn meditation and breathwork techniques
              • Transformative tools: theming, dharma talks, satsang
              • WINTER ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN!

              AWARENESS AND FOCUS FOR STRENGTH

              If resistance bands or weights are unavailable, strengthening of the rotator cuff muscles can still take place with a variety of yoga props.

              The exercises Matt demonstrates might appear to be simple in nature, but my goodness will they be a challenge! When executed with accuracy, they exhaust the muscles, which breaks them down in order for them to renew with increased strength.  

              It’s the well-placed effort (Abhyasa) that will inform our experience and translate into larger movements and postures like (Extended) Side Plank. Yes, it’s possible to strengthen the rotator cuff muscles with a variety of different tools and exercises, but when we apply technique and focus, our true potential unfolds.  

              Register for Matt’s upcoming Shoulder Reset workshop to learn and refine techniques to create strong, healthy shoulders.

              The 200 Hr. Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

              The 300 Hr. Advanced Teacher Training: Click Here to See the Next Start Date

              Article by Trish Curling

              Videos Extracted From: Anatomy In Motion

              lotus pose online yoga classes

              ONLINE ANATOMY COURSE

              • Accessible, exciting, and easy to learn
              • Anatomy and biomechanics for yoga
              • Appropriate for both teachers and students
              • Learn joint alignment vs pose alignment
              • Demystify yoga poses and transitions
              • Release aches and pains
              • Learn how to avoid common injuries
              • Caters to all levels with modifications and props
              • 20 hours Continued Education Credits with Yoga Alliance
              • 20 hours toward Chromatic Yoga Certification and 300 Hour
              • Lifetime access

              Continue Learning

              Tripod Headstand To Crow Pose

              Tripod Headstand To Crow Pose

              Tripod Headstand to Crow for Controlled AccessinversionsTRIPOD HEADSTAND TO CROW POSE When exploring an inversion like Tripod Headstand, the shoulder muscles become part of the primary focus. Tripod Headstand on its own can be challenging enough, but adding a...

              read more
              Shoulder Connections

              Shoulder Connections

              Shoulder Connections 3 Postures for Increased Mobilityshoulder stabilitySHOULDER CONNECTIONS To increase mobility in our shoulders, we must first understand how they move, so we become more connected with their function and how they inform a variety of yoga postures....

              read more
              Deep Dive Into Chaturanga

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              Deep Dive Into Chaturanga Shoulder Action Controversyshoulder stabilityDEEP DIVE INTO CHATURANGA Earlier this week, Matt posted a video on his Instagram page highlighting the shoulder blade movement that takes place in Chaturanga—moving from protraction to retraction....

              read more
              Strengthen Your “Shelf” For Mayurasana

              Strengthen Your “Shelf” For Mayurasana

              Strengthen Your "Shelf" for Mayurasana How to Prepare for This Unique Arm BalanceDELTOIDSSTRENGTHEN YOUR "SHELF" FOR MAYURASANA Let’s note that muscle groups do not work in isolation: The activation of accessory muscles, although not necessarily the focal point, are...

              read more
              What Are The Tilts Of The Scapula?

              What Are The Tilts Of The Scapula?

              What Are the Tilts of the Scapulae? 4 Postures to Help You Lock Into These Shoulder ActionsSHOULDER ROTATIONWHAT ARE THE TILTS OF THE SCAPULAE? When we first dive into studying anatomy, it’s all about the basics. Once the foundation is laid, it becomes easier to...

              read more
              Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

              Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles

              Awaken Your Rotator Cuff Muscles 6 Exercises for a More Stable Side PlankBELIEFAWAKEN YOUR ROTATOR CUFF MUSCLES The rotator cuff muscles carry a great deal of responsibility. When healthy and strong, they help to keep the head of the humerus inside of the glenoid...

              read more

              THE FREE TECHNIQUE PACK

              When You Subscribe, You Will Get Instant Access to

              • the Technique Pack: 15 yoga pose breakdowns
              • exclusive online course discounts
              • exclusive blogs and videos
              • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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