Week 210: Scapular Self-Care
What did the preschooler say to his mom at 3 am, 4 am, and 5 am?
You ain't gonna be up for yoga at 6:45am!
That was my night before my planned yoga this week. Funny how my preschooler has no idea what my yoga schedule is the next morning!
Needless to say, I squeezed in my yoga session during the day while the kids had some quiet time. Remarkably, I was able to enjoy a 40 minute session without one interruption…only the pitter patter on the floor above me!
I was drawn to the Yin/Yang Yoga for the Shoulders and Upper Back from Do Yoga with Me as I really enjoy the combination of the two. I seem to get excellent results from the balance of the two styles of yoga. Last week’s practice also demonstrated to me that my neck is super tight so a focus on the shoulders and upper back was a welcomed focus for the week. So much cycling, it takes a toll on my upper back and neck!
Sarah Jane Steele led the session with the Yin practice first. We completed three Yin poses that were meant to open the body, open the body's meridians and likely open the mind to practice. She commented that,
…the essence of Yin is to get deep below your superficial muscles, get right down to the fascia, the area around the joint and the meridians of your body. So the more you can just released your face, take all the muscular energy out of the shoulders and the chest, the more you will be able to release into this posture.
We proceeded into our Yang practice. As I’ve noted before, Sarah Jane has challenged me with new sequences that gave my practice a boost. This week was like no other. As she directed me into the “threading the needle pose”, I thought, “I got this!”
Surprisingly, my main take away was an easy way to intensify the upper back stretch in this pose. No equipment needed, except for my hand. Let me explain…
In hands and knees position, we pressed our hips back to our heels while keeping the arms out stretched in front of the body. Slowly lifting one arm up to the sky, rotate at the torso for a nice opening, then slowly lower the arm and tuck it under the outstretched support arm. Weight of the body is now on the outside of the bottom or “threaded” arm. So - the same movement as usual.
I was cued to actually manipulated the scapula.
How you may ask?
By grabbing ahold of the opposite scapula with the “threaded” arm’s hand and gently pulling away from the mid line of the body. By doing so, the extra pull provided a traction to really open up between the scapula.
All I needed was to use my hand to further open the distance between my two shoulder blades!
As you can imagine, 40 minutes of focus on my shoulders and chest has really helped to open my upper body. I do still feeling tension in the base of my neck and of course down by that pesky left hip but at least a little bit looser in between my scapula!
That, my yoga loving friends, was pretty cool. I've never done that before and the most self-care for the shoulders and back that I given in a long while!
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Aspiring Yoga Teacher
I've practiced yoga since I was a pre-teen and have always found it to keep me centered. I will be a teacher one day and this is my journey to discover teaching and practice.