WILD THING SHOULDER ALIGNMENT

ANATOMY • BIOMECHANICS • TECHNIQUE

Shoulder Alignment

WILD THING SHOULDER ALIGNMENT

What is the correct shoulder alignment for the pose we call Wild Thing? To answer this we would have to first define the guidelines for “right” and “wrong”. The fact is there are many ways you can align the shoulder, and you will be able to find at least one yoga teacher that would validate each alignment as “correct”. We need context and agreed objectives. 

For this discussion, the objective is to access greater mobility utilizing the strength of the Rhomboids. Our context for what is correct is based on two things:

  1. What will provide us with the greatest access to this pose we call wild thing?
  2. How can we minimize the risk of injury in our pursuits of the posture?

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THE BIOMECHANICS 

In the video below you will notice two key points. First is the rotation of the arm bone (external) which pairs with retraction of the shoulder blade. Second, you will see that in wild thing my shoulder is NOT stacked directly of the wrist. 

The two reasons we focus on external rotation is to help stabilize the arm bone in the shoulder socket (Glenohumeral Joint). This tends to be challenging for most people since it’s safe to say most humans are chronically internally rotated at the shoulder. The second reason is that external rotation in this position helps to retract and depress the shoulder blade. As a result of these actions, you will feel your spine will move into a backbend so long as you don’t do anything to counteract the movement. 

Wild Thing shoulder alignment is not just about the shoulder, it also helps to prepare your spine for the deep backbend that wild thing requires.

The Risk: If you skip these steps you will likely wind up with pressure, strain, or pain at the front of the shoulder joint. Additionally, your posture will feel more like a 3 Legged Tabletop than an expansive heart opener. 

3 ACTIONS TO ACHIEVE THIS “WILD THING SHOULDER ALIGNMENT”

Essentially the objective is to get the shoulder back behind you. The primary muscles that will do that are called the Rhomboids. The muscles that restrict this movement are called the pectorals. Action 1 helps to unlock the pectorals. These 3 actions should be done PRIOR to rising up not after. Additionally do not stack your shoulder over the wrist.

THE ACTIONS

Action 1: Shoulder Elevation

Relax and allow the shoulder to rise up toward your ear. This will turn off your Pectoralis Major and Minor which will provide greater mobility when you attempt to do actions 2 and 3. 

Action 2: Retract your shoulder blade

With the shoulder up toward the ear, pull your shoulder blade toward your spine, this will move the head of the arm bone back, lengthening your chest muscles. 

Action 3: Rotate the arm externally

Rotate the arm bone outward until you feel your rib cage presses forward and your spine moves into a back bend. This step will also bring the shoulder blade back down your back (away from the ears) as well. 

wild thing shoulder alignment
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  • When and how to do Active, Passive, & Isomentric stretching

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TRANSITIONING FROM THE GROUND TO WILD THING

As you rise up from the ground you will notice that you will be tempted to undo the shoulder alignment. I suggest filming yourself so you can observe with your eyes, as it can be easy to feel like you are doing one thing while the body is doing another. Rewatch the above video and you will see that as I rise up I am deliberately rotating the arm bone outward and the moving the shoulder blade backward. 

KEY POINT: THE SHOULDER IS NOT STACKED OVER THE WRIST

Notice that as I rise up I keep moving my weight into my legs and using the strength of my legs, buttocks and back to press my body to the sky. This is take the stress off of the shoulder and minimizes risk of shoulder injury. Using your legs and back muscles will also help you to deepen the posture. 

To learn more about anatomy, biomechanics and techniques you can apply to advance your asana practice join the Anatomy in Motion immersion. This immersion is unique in that each class begins with a visual anatomy tutorial helping you see how your muscles create movements. Following the tutorial you learn how to implement this knowledge into your practice, and most important you learn to FEEL your anatomy. 

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Article by Matt Giordano

Video Extracted From: Mobility Immersion

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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 Majory Muscle Groups
  • Active, Passive, & Isomentric Stretching
  • Improve Mobility and Stability
  • Get VERY Geeky

$168.00

 

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