sure yoga is all about connecting to yourself and your body – and not about competing or showing off or any other such nonsense. but we’ve all been at parties sharing with your friends how transformative yoga has been for us (um, right?)… now here’s a little parlor trick for you to show off the “magic” of yoga – and perhaps even convince them to join you for your next practice!
of course, after all of ooo’s and ahh’s, you will also be happy for this exercise’s effect of your body. one of the roots of shoulder tension lies within the subscapularis muscle. it can be challenging to access – but this next action will help to stretch it – hence creating ‘longer’ arms. i taught this pose to a class of mine last you week and you’d think i had just revealed a secret of the universe. who knows – perhaps the universe will begin to become revealed more clearly once you shoulders drop a little.
*start either standing in tadasana (mountain pose), or sitting in comfortable, supported seated pose.
*place your left hand over the right side of your chest, so that your left fingers wrap around your right armpit. this will help to remind you to keep your shoulder right over your hip (in other words – don’t lean to the side), and also offer some resistence.
*starting with your arm externally rotated (palm facing forward, thumb facing up), stretch your arm and fingers very actively, as if you are trying to touch the side wall
*resist the temptation to look toward your arm. keep your eyes closed, or gaze forward, and head/neck neutral and relaxed.
*you can stop here, or to deepen it, then internally rotate the whole arm/hand (so that the outside of the arm is facing forward, palm back, and thumb down). continue to actively reach the whole time.
*finally, you can stay here, or if you are able, you can keep the arm internally rotated and just move the hand back into external rotation (so that you would end up with the back of the arm facing forward, the palm forward and the thumb facing up)
*hold for about a minute (12 breaths) or longer is you want. keep the shoulders relaxed and the hand in line with shoulder (not higher).
*as you hold it, continue to visualize the fingers reaching the side wall
*when complete, release arms – and place arms next to each other, fingers facing toward the ground. notice that one arm is longer than the other? wah-lah! parlor trick complete.
*of course, repeating the ‘trick’ on the other arm is crucial to avoid walking around lopsided. so make sure you do the same with your left arm now.
…wanna learn more tricks? subscribe to my blog and/or come to my september retreat in calistoga!