Friday, February 15, 2008

Push Me Pull You Shoulders

This is probably way too much information than you really need to get by in life. But I have this odd recollection from my childhood of watching an episode of the Beverly Hillbillies in which a wealthy cigar-chomping oilman from Texas pulls up in front of Mr. Drysdale's bank in a Cadillac convertible sporting a longhorn steer hood ornament.

I don't know why such nonsense persists in my memory decades later, but it does. Maybe it was Jethro's excited response to seeing such a big-spirited display of ostentatiousness.

I also don't know why this happens, but when I see most people do the pose chaturanga dandasana I think of steer horns, especially the set of longhorns I remember from that TV show.

Chaturanga dandasana is a challenging pose. Especially when folks are tired, they let their shoulders sag toward the ground so that their upper arms are no longer parallel to the floor.

The look of the elbows high in the air and the roundness of the upper back conjures up the image in my mind of those long forward-curving steer horns.

As funny as this may seem, I'm mentioning it to you today because it's dangerous. It's harmful. You can do some debilitating damage to your rotator cuffs if you persist in taking the easy way out by hanging in this sagging shoulder shape.

Some people would question whether you should do the pose at all if it's so risky. Not me. Do the pose. It's worth it. But do it in a way that keeps the shoulder girdle injury free and open to the flow of life-giving healing energy, prana.

The folks at DK Children were kind enough to send along a copy of their Yoga for Teens Card Deck for me to review. One of the first things I noticed about this nicely prepared aid for young yogis is that the the model demonstrating chaturanga dandasana displayed nice arm and shoulder alignment. No steer horns.

Wouldn't it be a shame to take a group of young yogis (or any yogis for that matter) and show them how to do the pose in a way that hurts?

Bravo to the author, Mary Kaye Chryssicas!

How can you keep your rotator cuffs out of the sick ward while still doing this pose? You've got to distinguish movement from action and then implement the action that does the job.

For chaturanga, the movement is lowering yourself down from the push-up position into that four-legged staff position in which you appear to be hovering a few inches from the floor.

The injury-avoiding action is challenging because it takes your upper arm bones in the opposite direction of the movement. Your body is lowering toward the floor, but at the same time your upper arm bones are drawn toward the ceiling by muscular action.

[That's why I named this Daily Yoga Tip 'Push Me Pull You Shoulders'. Your torso is heading in one direction, while the heads of your upper arm bones are drawn in the other.]

I wrote a Daily Yoga Tip about this upper arm action back in 2005. It's called Relief From Rotator Cuff Pain. You can read it here. I recommend it if your shoulders hurt or if you steerhorn your shoulders in chaturanga dandasana.

I also recommend that you get the hang of this action while practicing wall push-ups (with the upper arms back and a noticeable trough between your shoulder blades), before you bear all of your body weight in chaturanga dandasana.

You'll be well on your way. And you'll look like the model in the card deck. Her upper arms are parallel to the floor and there's a hollow cleft between her shoulder blades.

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

Kevin Perry

p.s., The Sanskrit Word of the Day from my previous Daily Yoga Tip was sirsa. Sirsa means head as in sirsasana, the head pose.

p.p.s., Today's Sanskrit Word of the Day is hala. I'll tell you what it means next time.

p.p.p.s., Visit to lean more about the Experience Sanskrit workshop in Saint Charles, Missouri. We'll be Robin Buck's guests at Jane's House of Wellbeing, Saturday, March 15 at 12:00 noon. Register here.

p.p.p.p.s., I didn't know I'd still be receiving your translations of utthita ashwa sanchalanasana, but I am. So I am going to wait one more day to announce the lucky winners.

p.p.p.p.p.s., Some of you may not know that it is no longer correct to refer to Jethro and Elly May as Hillbillies. I live in Missouri. I should know, right? I am informed that the proper term is 'Ozark Americans.'

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.
Kevin Perry
Mo Yoga LLC
1305 Elmerine Ave
Jefferson City, MO 65101

(573) 680-6737


Blogger jindi said...

Yoga (Sanskrit, Pali: yóga) refers to traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India. The word is associated with meditative practices in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. In Hinduism, it also refers to one of the six orthodox (astika) schools of Hindu philosophy, and to the goal toward which that school directs its practices. In Jainism it refers to the sum total of all activities—mental, verbal and physical.

Major branches of yoga in Hindu philosophy include Raja Yoga, Karma Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Hatha Yoga. Raja Yoga, compiled in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and known simply as yoga in the context of Hindu philosophy, is part of the Samkhya tradition.[10] Many other Hindu texts discuss aspects of yoga, including Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Shiva Samhita and various Tantras.

The Sanskrit word yoga has many meanings, and is derived from the Sanskrit root "yuj," meaning "to control," "to yoke" or "to unite."[12] Translations include "joining," "uniting," "union," "conjunction," and "means." Outside India, the term yoga is typically associated with Hatha Yoga and its asanas (postures) or as a form of exercise. Someone who practices yoga or follows the yoga philosophy is called a yogi or yogini


3:57 AM  
Anonymous Barabra said...

Yoga push up can help you in a lot of way, by practicing yoga push up your arm, chest and shoulder will get a lot of power and stamina.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous pharmacy said...

Great post! Keep it up the good work and also keep posting.

10:03 AM  

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