In my early twenties, I was a yoga dipped pretzel junkie. I wanted to explore what directions of movement my body could do, and thought it felt just fine at the time. Whether I should do them or not, in body weighted inversions or not, never came into my mind. I was all about the “show” and would return to the pose throughout the day to get the same sensation of stretch or elation. I wasn’t aware of any problems of the repetitive excessive mobility or questioned whether I should focus on one pose more than another. I was unaware that yoga asanas were originally designed by the yogis as an individual prescription of specific poses to improve one’s health. My favorites were Downward Facing Dog, Shoulder Stand and other arm balances that could amuse, but would eventually cause instability when combined with my daily habits.
College was physically, mentally and emotionally stressful. With too much time at the ol’ word processor, bad habits started to creep into my postural muscles and my leg muscles shortened like deflated accordions. What once felt good in my yoga practice started to make me feel like I really didn’t know what was going on and began to question the temperament of my Downward Facing Dog pose. Was I supposed to compromise my back to stretch my hamstrings, gain shoulder strength but lean more towards strengthening internal rotation from too much typing? I love Jill Miller’s Yoga Tune Up® pose, Dolphin Supinate. Training your Dolphin before training your Dog makes great sense. By influencing the strength of the external rotators (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis) and shoulder depressors (serratus anterior and lower fibers of trapezius), the shoulder will be stable and keep the biceps tendon happy and free. In order to keep the variety of students’ shoulders (many coming straight off a computer or smart phone) stable and behaved in Downward Facing Dog Pose, I first teach Dolphin Supinate.