Therapy: shoulders wear and care

Posted by on November 20, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Yoga therapy - Shoulders


Shoulder injuries are common among yogis, but they don’t have to be. Here’s how to care for your shoulders, not tear them down.

In this “muse” I shall explore Upper back, thoracic spine, cervical spine, shoulders and shoulders girdle and shoulder blades.  We will look at the inner torso and energetics of the torso.

The first thing we need to observe are the common misalignments in this region of the body and what would be optimal and how we can move towards optimal “blueprint” of alignment.

When there is pain we first need to align by starting with non weight bearing to progressively little weight bearing to more weight bearing.

The body is complex and I won’t bore you with much anatomical scary terminology and getting over technical though helpful, tends to narrow our vision and getting in the way.

The simplest approach is usually the most effective. Basic principles that you can do again again and again.

We need to look at our tendencies and what we consider optimal.



Is the inner torso “dim” … like we have forgotten our nature?

A child hasn’t forgotten!

Child laughing

The quality the way we sit inside of ourselves affects the physical body! The way we carry ourselves affects the heart the mind and the way we see ourselves and our connection to the world around us.


The power of therapeutics can make a shift in the way we carry our physical structure RIGHT NOW!

Our habits and attitude can affect our posture!

Inner body dim

Too many hours sitting in front of a computer, driving, sitting in sofas watching TV affect our posture. And so does our attitude! Positive versus negative attitude can affect greatly our body.

A person with inner torso spacious have a tendency to say “well its raining but sun is going to come” a person with inner torso “dim”  “its a sunny day but its sticky, or its going to rain”!

The inner torso “dim” affect our physical structure.

spacious torso

Ross Rayburn explaining inner torso spacious


upper arm bones forward and down, space between the shoulder blades widen.

But if we try to align and skip the “first principle” of inner torso spacious, the other alignments have zero or little value.

When the inner torso is spacious the head of the arm bones go up, then you lengthen the side of the torso, and you square it.

I like to call this mudra the “how wonderful” mudra :)


When you try to do weight bearing such as chatturanga and urdva mukha svanasana, with torso dim and head of the arm bone is forward and the side of the body short, chances to tweak your shoulders is great! If you do “Scorpio” and have rotator cuff injury lot of things can happen but not all of them are good!

Inner body dim shoulders forward. Ouch!

Conversely the more precise alignment in weight bearing the more potential for healing.

Chatturanga correctChatturanga incorrect 

So a  strategic therapeutic approach is least weight bearing towards more weight bearing.


Inner torso spacious

Side body long

Torso squared to the front

Head of the arm bones back (as a result of an engagement all the way from the fingertips to the back of the shoulders into the upperback.

Shoulder blades flat on the back


Eye level (upper and lower eyelids at same level)



First thing you need to do is either stand in front the the mirror or best have a friend to check all at of the above. And also to look for any asymmetry, perhaps one side of the torso is “dimer” and the same side of the body is shorter. Perhaps looking from profile check the eye level, if the upper eyelid is more forward than the lower eyelid, it’s very likely that there isn’t much curvature in the neck.

If you look on the side after checking that the eyelids are level, check the centre of the ears is in line with the shoulders. If head sticks forward the head of the arm bones generally follow too.


MAGNETISE SHOULDER BLADES (which by the way doesn’t mean pinching)

Once you have established and inner expansion with the breath (inner body expansive) you draw the bottom tip of the shoulder blades towards one another — a common problem is that the anterior muscles get shorter, nursing babies — so you need to engage the muscles in between the shoulder blades — rhomboids sub-scapulae gets overstretched and weakened —   You keep those muscles engaged and then you expand into that space. Its like creating some boundaries where yo  can expand — just like the banks of the a river to increase the power of the water.

Strategy: increase flexibility at the front and strengthen the back.


As mentioned earlier the inner body should be expansive all around. Think if one side is dimmer or shorter than the other, or the front body is shorter than the back body, and then you go to a the gym to keep “fit” and you do weight bearing exercise, you can imagine what can happen to your shoulders!




if you lift the arm with this misalignment ouch! impingement !




Take right arm forward, grab tricep with left hand, do inner body expansive, side body long, bicep engaged, lift the chin root the arm into its socket (head of arm bone back) and take the arm up.

or if you have a friend you can lie on the back and have him/her to help you do the same (see example below)


Shoulders assist






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