DOWNWARD DOG

SHOULDER ALIGNMENT 

How Yoga Props Enhance Your Downward Dog

ADHO MUKHA

ALIGNMENT QUESTIONS IN DOWNWARD FACING DOG

How many times have you done Downward Facing Dog in your yoga practice? I can’t answer that either.  It’s a posture that shows up in a yoga class quite often.  It just becomes part of the foundation of a physical practice after a while.  When you started your practice, you may have been told that it’s a resting posture but, it doesn’t always feel like that does it?  It takes some time for it to feel “right” or even “comfortable”.  You’ve most likely navigated through things like:

Should my heels touch the mat?

How far apart should my hands be from one another?

What about the direction of my hands?

How far apart should my hands be from my feet?

Should my wrists feel this way?

Is it ok to bend my knees?

This list goes on. 

Over time, you start to develop a deeper understanding of the pose and begin to develop and integrate patterns in your body that feel “right”.

As you continue to learn and grow in your practice you may also get to a point where you begin to wonder if these patterns are actually serving you. This wondering may come from pain and/or injuries that may arise.  It may also simply arise from exposure to different practices and/or teachers.  What often happens is once you get comfortable with “the way you’ve always done it” it may be challenging to consider a different way and/or  adding on some new actions to actually improve not only the posture, but also to improve the health of your joint placement/alignment in the posture.  

It is important however, to be open to the process of “unlearning” and the process of developing new patterns.  The perspective that is important to take when you encounter times like this in your yoga practice, is to understand that it is all a part of growth and your specific journey to learn more about your own body.  It’s actually an opportunity.  Approaching your practice with an openness to opportunity, often leads to the unraveling and access to new breakthroughs in your practice. 

    SHOULDER REVELATION

    Strength•Mobility•Biomechanics

    • Increase strength and flexibility
    • Decrease risk of injury
    • Release shoulder tension
    • Learn anatomy and biomechanics
    • Access a wider range of postures
    • Stabilize the rotator cuff muscles
    • Learn binds, heart openers, and arm balances
    • 12 all-levels, 75-minute online classes
    • Lifetime unlimited access to all

    $198.00 $138.00

    WHAT IS SHOULDER IMPINGEMENT?

    “Shoulder impingement is a common condition believed to contribute to the development or progression of rotator cuff disease” 

    Ludewig, Paula M, and Jonathan P Braman. “Shoulder impingement: biomechanical considerations in rehabilitation.” Manual therapy vol. 16,1 (2011): 33-9. doi:10.1016/j.math.2010.08.004

    Shoulder impingement and/or a pinching sensation in the shoulders is a common complaint when it comes to the execution of Downward Facing Dog.  You might feel this in early attempts of the posture, or after repeating patterns like drawing your shoulders away from your ears which may cause pain or irritation in the posture.

    In the video, Matt explains it quite nicely by saying that when you draw the scapula (shoulder blades) away from your ears, the upper arm bone (humerus) collides into the acromion process.  This action and collision is what creates the impingement or “pinching”.  This pinching can create pain, discomfort or may even lead to injury.  How do you know this is happening from a visual standpoint?  Matt explains that you can see what looks like a “dimple” in the shoulder when the humerus is pulling down away from your ears. For further information for proper alignment in Downward Dog, you can also check out Matt’s blog 3 STEPS TO AVOID SHOULDER IMPINGEMENT IN DOWNWARD FACING DOG.

    WATCH THE VIDEO: DOWNWARD DOG SHOULDER ALIGNMENT

    NEXT TRAINING BEGINS AUGUST 27th 2022, ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
    NEXT TRAINING BEGINS SEPTEMBER 18th 2022, ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

    USING A ROLLED UP YOGA MAT FOR DOWNWARD FACING DOG

    Rolling up a yoga mat and using it as an additional prop provides excellent feedback and even assists you in the execution of the steps to set up Downward Facing Dog.  It helps to create new patterns in your body to avoid shoulder impingement in this foundational posture.

     Matt details exactly how to use your mat by following these steps:

    1.  Place a rolled up mat horizontally across the top you your mat
    2. Place your hands in front of the mat
    3. Go back into Downward Dog (bend your knees and send your tailbone to the sky)
    4. Move your armpits forward towards your hands  and lift them up. 

    What’s happening here is that this action will activate the rhomboids and the upper trapezius will activate from the lift of the armpits.  This will also support the movement of the top of the shoulder blades going inward while the bottom of the scapula are protracting.

     In this step, it’s also a great opportunity to check in and get some feedback within your body.  If you put a lot of pressure into the yoga mat then you know you’re dropping the armpits down and are causing the sub-acromion pinch.  Matt offers the cue here of reaching through outer lines of the arms so that the scapula will upwardly rotate.

     “During normal motion, the scapula will upwardly rotate and posteriorly tilt on the thorax during elevation of the arm in flexion, abduction, scapular plane abduction, or unrestricted overhead reaching.”

     Ludewig, Paula M, and Jonathan P Braman. “Shoulder impingement: biomechanical considerations in rehabilitation.” Manual therapy vol. 16,1 (2011): 33-9. doi:10.1016/j.math.2010.08.004

    5.   Externally rotate the humerus (biceps face forward and pinky edge of the hand pulls bottom portion of scapula around

    After these actions are put into place, you may feel like the inside edge of your hand is pulling up, so articulating the next step is important.

    6.  Turn your palms down (the radioulnar joint pronates the forearm and this is a separate action that happens specifically at the forearm and separate from the action of the external rotation of the humerus).

    7.  Turn hands out a little more and wider  (this also helps to create less chance of shoulder impingement)

    8.  Heels of the hands are lifted (again, creating that lightness and less touch against the yoga mat. 

    Not only will this create less impingement, it will also strengthen the flexors of the wrist which will feel better and allow you to feel more safe.

    12 Online Yoga classes to Learn Anatomy

    ANATOMY IN MOTION

    APRIL 2022 Immersion

    • Embody anatomy
    • Learn key muscles, bones, and joints
    • Visualize your movements internally
    • Improve proprioception
    • Sensation-based practices
    • Unlock and strengthen major muscle groups
    • Active, passive, and isometric stretching
    • Improve mobility and stability
    • Get VERY geeky

    $168.00

     

    SIMPLIFY THE STEPS FOR MASTERING DOWNWARD DOG SHOULDER ALIGNMENT

    In the video, Matt offers what’s called “Mock” or “Modified” Down Downward Dog on your knees.  Here are the steps:

    1.  Armpits Lift
    2. Lengthen – shoulders to the ears 
    3. Go up and back
    4. Externally Rotate the arm bones (biceps face forward)
    5. Heels of the hands (carpal tunnels)  lifted

    Integrating these new actions may feel quite awkward once you start to gradually implement them.  They may not feel quite “right”.  This is that process of “unlearning” and creating new neuromuscular patterns in your body.  Eventually they will start to feel more “comfortable” and you will notice the change in the development of your strength.  Setting this foundation will help to support your journey in other postures where it is necessary to utilize strength and balance from your shoulders, forearms, and hands.

    If you enjoy diving deeper into the potential of your body and of the yoga practice as a whole, you can deepen your studies in Matt’s 200 and 300 Hr. Trainings.  

    CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW FOR MORE DETAILS.

    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

    Video Extracted From: 300 Hr. Training

    0 Comments

    Trackbacks/Pingbacks

    1. Downward Dog Shoulder Alignment | Yoga Pit - […] post Downward Dog Shoulder Alignment appeared first on […]

    Submit a Comment

    CHOOSE YOUR PATH

    NEXT TRAINING BEGINS AUGUST 27th 2022, ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN
    NEXT TRAINING BEGINS SEPTEMBER 18th 2022, ENROLLMENT NOW OPEN

    Continue Learning

    Calm The Mind with Meditation

    Calm The Mind with Meditation

    CALM THE MIND  GO BENEATH THE SURFACESUTRA 1.2CALM THE MIND“If restraint of the mental modifications is achieved, one has reached the goal of yoga” this is taken directly from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (pg. 3) “Yoga is the experience we have when all vritti...

    read more
    hamstring stretch technique for wide legged forward fold

    hamstring stretch technique for wide legged forward fold

    WIDE LEGGED FORWARD FOLD  INCREASE YOUR FLEXIBILITY WITH RECIPROCAL INHIBITIONPRASARITAa safe approach to increase flexibilityIt’s not unusual to feel “stuck” in our yoga practice at times. We may come to a place in our physical practice where we are not experiencing...

    read more
    Bow Pose: Where to Breathe in a Backbend

    Bow Pose: Where to Breathe in a Backbend

    BOW POSE—WHERE TO BREATHE  YOGA ANATOMY • BIOMECHANICS • TECHNIQUEBOW POSEThe Challenge of breathing in backbendsEver feel short of breath in a backbend? You aren't the only one. Where to breathe in a backbend is a popular question, and rightfully so. If you look at...

    read more
    side plank variations

    side plank variations

    Side Plank Variations VASHISTASANA • MODIFICATIONS • TUTORIALSIDE PLANKExtended Side plank variations  [Click Below to listen to the Audio Version of "Extended Side Plank"]There are definitely more ways than one to access a yoga posture. Not only that, but Matt is...

    read more
    King Cobra Pose Tutorial

    King Cobra Pose Tutorial

    KING COBRA POSE  YOGA ANATOMY • BIOMECHANICS • TECHNIQUEKING COBRA5 Key Actions to Decompress Your Spine in King Cobra PoseNot all that glitters is gold, and without the right approach, this glorious backbend may not be a shining example of spinal health. King Cobra...

    read more
    Wild Thing Shoulder Alignment

    Wild Thing Shoulder Alignment

    WILD THING SHOULDER ALIGNMENT ANATOMY • BIOMECHANICS • TECHNIQUEShoulder AlignmentWILD THING SHOULDER ALIGNMENTWhat is the correct shoulder alignment for the pose we call Wild Thing? To answer this, we would first have to define the guidelines for "right" and "wrong."...

    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.
    "GET WELL SOON SALE EXTENDED!" 20% OFF IMMERSIONS!
    10
    days
    10
    hours
    10
    minutes
    10
    seconds
    "GET WELL SOON" SALE EXTENDED!
    20% OFF ALL IMMERSIONS!
    10
    days
    10
    hours
    10
    minutes
    10
    seconds
    Congratulations, your 30% discount code has been applied and will be reflected at the very bottom at checkout page
    Overlay Image
    GET WELL SOON SALE! Congratulations, your 30% discount code has been applied and will be reflected at the very bottom at checkout page

    Thank you! check your email for your free training and be sure to put matt@theyogimatt.com in your VIP or drag emails from me from your spam or "promotions" folder to your Inbox folder. This is where you will receive your FREE videos!

    Pin It on Pinterest

    Share This!

    Hey. thank you for reading. If this is helpful please share it!

    Shares