In my previous post, I talked about how yoga vinyasa focuses on load in the front muscles on the chest, specifically muscles that execute pushing. What about the pulling muscles in the back of the shoulders and upper back? Repeating a vinyasa/chaturanga sequence many times a class and many times a week can create a structural imbalance in the shoulder, which could lead to injury and pain down the line. What are some things you can do to help balance things out?
-If you are someone who practices a style of yoga which might feature 25-50 chaturangas in each class, consider laying off of a few here and there, especially if you have past or current shoulder issues. I’ve restricted my chaturangas to 10 or less in a flow class and teach other ways of strengthening the anterior muscles, including reverse plank or reverse table.
-Take a magnifying glass to your chaturanga dandasana – Do your shoulders “wing” out as you lower down? Do you have restricted muscles in the front of the body that affect your posture and ability to lower down in chaturanga?
-Do some soft tissue mobilization for your front body with the Roll Model® therapy balls, focusing on the pectorals and chest.
-Get to a Yoga Tune Up® class and start mobilizing and strengthening your rotator cuff pronto! There are a huge array of different poses to strengthen theses muscles, and some of my favorites are the matador circles, dolphin plank, and bodysurfing for starter.
Here is a video from YTU teacher Brooke Thomas that is a fantastic release for your pec minor.