Sunday, December 18, 2005

Light Arms, Like a Snow Man

Once again there was snow on the ground when I got up today. It was just dust. Not enough to make a difference. And certainly not enough to make a snowman.

But I did see a snowman on the TV today. He was constructed in the classic form, small snowball stacked on medium ball on top of big snowball. He had coal for eyes and sticks, horizontal, sprouting out from each side.

It made me think of my yoga students in warrior 2 pose (virabhadrasana 2). Even though the snowman can stand steady out in the cold with his arms stretched out endlessly, most people can't keep their arms out very long.

Even while you sit at your computer, try this. Stretch your arms out to the sides so they're horizontal. Now wait. See how much time goes by before you want to take them down. Not long, eh?

I use a simple secret to make my arms feel light. I'll teach it to you.

With your arms outstretched, tuck your shoulder blade tips. That's it. You move your shoulder blades as if you were going to tuck them into your back pants pockets.

Your upper chest (on the front side of your body) naturally lifts a bit when you do this. The arms get lighter.

Using this action, you'll be able to hold your arms out steady and straight, just like a fine snowman.

By the way, this action of the shoulder blades tucking down while the upper chest lifts (and the skin on the tops of the shoulders flows backwards, too) is one of the "loops" that have been made popular by Anusara yoga. This action is the shoulder loop.

John Friend describes the shoulder loop like this in his YJ article called Go with the Flow: Alignment in Anusara:
SHOULDER LOOP One of the seven energy loops within the body. This loop originates in the upper palate and flows backward to the base of the skull and down the back of the body to the bottom of the shoulder blades. When you engage Shoulder Loop, the head moves back slightly and the shoulder blades move down the back. At the bottom of the shoulder blades, the loop begins arcing forward and upward as it draws the bottom tips of the shoulder blades in and upward, toward the heart. The loop continues forward and up to the palate again as it lifts the chest and opens the throat.
You can find this quote at

Did you catch that? The precise action of the shoulder blades not only supports the arms, but it supports and lifts the heart, too. Here's wishing you a healthy, supported and open heart during the Christmas holiday and throughout the year to come.

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., I spent last evening in our town's brand new performing arts center. I watched a fantastic performance of the ballet The Nutcracker. My daughter was an angel and a baker. I really enjoyed it. I wrote a Daily Yoga Tip back on the Fourth of July about shoulders and ballet. You can read it here.

p.p.s., Virabhadrasana is one of three poses dedicated to Virabhadra. The mighty warrior Virabhadra sprung up from the ground when Siva, in his anger, through a clump of his matted hair on the ground. Why was he angry? You'll have to find out at the Experience Sanskrit workshop coming up SOON January 14, 2006 at Sunshine Yoga at Chiro Center, in Kansas City, MO. Enroll today here.
Don't wait. Tuition goes up to $65 on January 7.

The Experience Sanskrit workshop comes to Fort Worth on January 28th, Downingtown, PA on February 4th, Annapolis, MD on March 4th, and St. Charles, MO on March 18th. Find out more about these workshops at

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.


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