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Deconstructing Down Dog Part 4 of 10

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

If the person is shifted forwards in their down dog and the gleno-humoral joint (shoulder) is positioned closer to the hands or over the hands, there is a line of force that is going to pass down through and into the floor via the arms and hands. If I was wanting them to do a charuranga this is close to the position that i want but not for down dog As we start to moving into positions that is asking us to lifting heavier and heavier the weakness will come through and you will see people trying to flex and muscle their way through the pose to stay in the pose. This is at the experience of the neck, shoulder, elbow, and wrists. A strength control weakness will manifest itself as poor control through the upper quarter (peripheral core) lack of ability to keep scapula strong; lack of ability to find length in the spine; poor control at gleno-humeral joint (GHJ)where we see anterior humeral translation We don’t want to use the word form as there are so many components. -Is it a lack of humeral control? -Is it a lack of scapular set strength? -Is it a lack of platform strength? -Or is it a lack of mobility at the thoracic spine? As they lose scapula set; They will begin to expose the GHJ to more torque loading; b/c as they lose that scapular set and it starts to protract, it takes the glenoid away from that “sweet spot” position for down dog. Which means now the relationships between the elbow and the shoulder is going to increase in terms of lever loading. So that loss of scapular set that is going to increase the torque loading at the glenohumeral joint, they are going to start beating their shoulders up overtime

Ahh the shoulder! Such a great area to cause lots of problems. Injuries, accidents, posture can change the biomechanics and the efficiency of this complex joint. The shoulder complex is formed by the ✅ Sternum ✅ Clavicle ✅ Scapula ✅ Humerus The are five joints of the shoulder joint: 1. Sternoclavicular Joint (SC joint) 2. Coracoclavicular Joint 3. Acromianclavicular Joint (AC joint) 4. Glen-humeral Joint 5. Scapulo-Thorax—Not a true joint Important Ligaments: while there are many ligaments I’m only highlighting one today because of the associated arm movements with down dog. This is a multilayered issue and only working here is not going to help very much. I would assess all the ligaments and joints for a complete corrective one-on-one session. These arm movements, muscles, ligaments all work together functionally and not in an isolated manner. Corrections done only in an isolated way are not very effective long term. So be careful and look at more than one possibility and understanding the muscular sequence of arm movements and how ligaments can inhibit the muscles altering the sequence is important to learn.

A couple of ligaments that plague students with full on pain or discomfort. 1. Coracoclavicular Ligament is made up of two ligaments: the trapezoid ligament and the conoid ligament. People that have trouble w/overhead movements; holding the arm out in front; or reaching for something from behind (from the drivers seat or maybe a bind in yoga) there are typically issues associated with this ligament. In class, how I would I problem solve for down dog? I’m only staying with down dog since the video series is on one pose ✅ Wider stance with hands/feet ✅ shift more weight into legs (not everyone stays there and need to be cued regularly) ✅ find length through spine (people will round the shoulders if there is dysfunction sitting on those ligaments) ✅ I’ll have done a thoracic spine mobilization with tennis ball taped together before the first down dog. If that doesn’t help, 1. They need to be in table top instead it 2. Since I’m able to do a quick #pdtr correction on those two ligaments, that’s what I’ll do. This is temporary. There is more the clear and correct, but in a class setting and in a pinch it’s helpful

These two tennis balls taped together with duct tape is a great thoracic spine mobility tool. There are many things out there to help besides these and food to know b/c not every client will be able to tolerate the tennis balls. Out of all the years teaching this to clients and in my classes I would say only about 3 people could not truly use the tennis balls. I gave them an alternative and will an IGTV on it. 1. Hips and low back on the floor. Place the tennis balls around the bottom of the shoulder blade 2. Hands interlaced behind the head. 3. Begin to lie back over the balls 4. Come back up; pause; lift hips and use the strength of your hamstrings vis your heels to roll you down the balls to move the balls up the spine. But only a little the vertebrae here aren’t that large. 5. Repeat until getting to the top of the shoulder blade 6. Then do the same thing but head back down to start position This is important to do because if you did land on some stuck vertebrae it will be uncomfortable, possibly take your breath away, etc... when you go back down you will find it’s less painful and can breath. You need to feel this and tour body needs to feel this There is an intimate connection between the thoracic spine and the shoulder. For every degree of thoracic extension lost; its is taken up by the neck and shoulders. You will find when you do this that it is easier to breath, you can sit taller with less effort and just a nice feeling of ease.

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