Mighty Yoga Ithaca, November 14th:

Q: What are these arm pit hollows you speak of???

A: It was the cutest ever...when a gentleman asked this question one beautiful yogini shrugged her shoulders and openly admitted she also had no idea what I was talking about:) Because each workshop is unique (such a collaboration of the group collected:) we all came up with the feeling sensation of delicate eggs under the armpits - True Yogis practicing Ahimsa (don't crush the little chixs!!!)

The anatomical nature of this cuing is this: after using your lower Trapezius to draw shoulder blades away from your ears and using your Serratus Anterior to broaden your shoulder blades across back to outer ribcage it is now time to draw your upper arm (humerus) to your side ribcage with Latissimus Dorsi and Infraspinatus. What we need to prevent however is the squeezing/clenching of the humerus into side ribs. Creating armpit hollows allows for lightness and ease (as well as strength and joint integration)! Remember Patanjali's words of wisdom...Sthira Sukkham Asanam (Steady and Comfortable in the Pose).

Hot Yoga Saratoga, November 8th:

Q: What about winged scapulas/shoulder blades in chaturanga dandasana? I feel that the only answer is to use my pectorals...but then my pectorals roll my shoulders forward.

A: I love this question! Thank you so much to my good friend Cindy for this one:) Most people will counteract the winged scapulas with pectoral activation (and also counteract tight Pectoralis muscles with Rhomboids strength that can encourage winged scapulas). My answer to this is 4 muscles: Lower Trapezius (to depress shoulder blades away from ears), Serratus Anterior (to broaden shoulder blades across back), Infraspinatus (external rotator of humerus bone to keep elbows tucked in) and Latissiumus Dorsi (to also keep humerus bones adducted into side ribs).

*Later that evening I received a great message from my friend..."I just went to the gym to strengthen my Serratus Anterior muscles...no lie!" SO AWESOME! No more winged Scaps there!:)

Might Yoga Hanover, September 27th:

Q: Why is it that my lower back hurts after I practice Vinyasa Yoga?

A: This beautiful yogini at Mighty Yoga Hanover, while pointing to her lower back at the same time showing a chaturanga to upward facing dog transition, said this is a constant problem for her. During the workshop we worked on sphinx and cobra to imprint length and strength into lower, mid and upper back. The A-HA look of recognition and relief was PRICELESS!!! My heart SANG!!! Remember this rule of thumb: always, always, always at least ONE (if not three) cobras in a practice before EVER attempting and exploring your first upward facing dog! And in your updog...send you ribcage FORWARD then upward to encourage & maintain lots of LENGTH in the lower back (vs. dumping into the lumbar lordotic curve).


Have a question about injury prevention or how you can engage in a safer practice? Ask Jennilee!