Scapulohumeral rhythm is the coordinated movement that should occur between the shoulder and scapulocostal joints during all movements of the arm. We feel that there are a handful of verbal cues and hands-on assists out there in yoga world that go against this rhythm, which can lead to shoulder instability and/or impingement syndrome (e.g., "plug the arms into the sockets," "draw the shoulderblades down the back," "melt the heart" in plank, etc.). Learning more about scapulohumeral rhythm will better inform your own practice, refine the biomechanical accuracy of your verbal cues and hands-on assists, and help keep your shoulder joints happy and healthy.
In the first video in this series we explored the anatomy and movements available at the shoulder and scapulocostal joints. In the second video we explored how movements of the shoulder joint should be coupled with movements of the scapulocostal joint to ensure safe, efficient biomechanics at the shoulder joint complex that will help prevent injury. In this video, we examine shoulder impingement syndrome... and offer three suggestions to help prevent it. This is knowledge that you can put to immediate use in your practice and teaching!
In subsequent videos we'll explore:
An expression that I often see written and hear discussed in reference to the physical practice of yoga asana is that it “brings balance to the body.” The suggestion seems to be that if you practice yoga regularly, it will naturally result in a more muscularly balanced body. But is this really true? What is a balanced body, anyway?
While I probably shouldn’t have favorites, I do confess to having a special fondness for the piriformis. It’s got a super cool name that just kind of rolls off the tongue (click here to hear it pronounced), it feels great to stretch it, and when it’s flexible it’ll add much more sukha to your Sukhasana (Comfortable pose) and make postures like Eka Pada Galavasana (Flying Crow) more accessible. However, if it’s tight it will limit the ability of the femur to laterally rotate within the hip joint, which has a lot of potentially not-so-great consequences (both on and off the yoga mat). By taking the time to learn more about this little muscle you’ll be able to more skillfully stretch it in your own practice and help your students find ways to safely stretch it in theirs.
When coming into pigeon pose, if a student is unable to laterally rotate the thigh at the hip joint sufficiently they may inadvertently overstretch the ligament on the outside of their knee (the LCL) and/or compress the soft tissue on the inside of the knee (the medial meniscus). In the video below we explore how this might happen, and offer a few suggestions that can remedy the issue.