This page of the Sensational Yoga Pose Index focuses on balancing yoga poses including balancing on one leg, inverted and semi-inverted poses, arm balances and miscelaneous balance poses like balancing cat pose and side plank.
This yoga pose index focuses on poses where the belly is on the floor or close to the floor, poses where the belly is lifted by the position of the legs and finally kneeling and semi-kneeling poses with the torso upright or laying back.
The sensational yoga pose index 1 lists seated and supine yoga poses into groups according to the position of one or both legs. It includes cross legged poses, poses with one leg in hero pose, marichyasana type poses, lotus pose variations and more.
The 12 Normal TCM meridians are linked in a network with a specific pattern of flow. Both the meridians and the associated elements can be used for guiding the order in which parts of the body are stretched and strengthened.
Meridian stretches uses TCM meridians to guide either a complete stretch of the body or a focused stretch. Both meridians and associated elements can be used to guide the order in which you stretch the body.
Learning to balance on one foot can be made easier if you focus on poses where the legs aren't touching or "bound." With the standing leg free you can practice stabilizing the hip, ankle and foot while moving in and out of standing on one leg balancing positions.
Balancing on one leg in yoga poses like utthitta hasta padangustasana, dancer, tree pose, half bound lotus and eagle, the lifted foot is either bound or held by one hand or the legs in some way contact each other. This can make balancing (or staying balance) a little more challenging.
Yoga Ab exercises include standing and seated positions as well as belly up and belly down yoga poses. You can exercise (or train) the abs by working at keeping the midsection stable or by using the abs to move the ribcage relative to the pelvis and vice versa.
Seated yoga poses can be used to help isolate your spine, hip joints and pelvis. Feel and control your spine while seated, to make these same movements easier while standing.
Eagle yoga pose combines balancing on one leg with hip flexibility and shoulder stretching. To make eagle pose easier to learn and you can focus on the leg crossing element in isolation. Then you can intergrate the arms.
Learn how to work towards the arm position from eagle pose. If you first get the hang of eagle pose arms in isolation you can then combine it with various leg positions including eagle legs.
The sensational yoga pose index lists standing yoga poses in the following categories: symmetric, single leg balancing pose, asymmetric forward facing standing poses and asymmetric lateral standing yoga poses.
Use standing side bend yoga pose to stretch your outer hip, side of the waist, side of the ribcage, lats and shoulders. Use your feet to push your pelvis one way and reach your ribs and upper body away from your pelvis.
If you have tight knees (i.e. you can't knee with your bum on your heels) and/or tight ankles, a simple way to work on improving knee and ankle flexibility is to lean forward while kneeling and slowly sit up. Then lean forwards again.
Why improve body awareness? So that you can become your own mechanic and fix problems yourself. Instead of being able to fault find and fix your own car, the idea is that you can fault find and fix your own body.
The idea of counterposes is to help bring the body back into balance. Here's a look at several different ideas for counterposing yoga poses.
Marichyasana B is a forward bending binding yoga pose with the non-marichyasana leg in lotus. One way to prepare for this position is to use the janusirsasana C foot position.
One of the ideas of self mastery is that the easiest thing to change is ourselves. This can start by becoming aware of our habits and the way that we think so that we can begin to change them.
Here's a look at the forward bending and twisting marichyasana yoga poses with an emphasis on learning how to bind. I've included two simple marichyasana variations that can make binding easier, even for those with limited flexibility.
Arm and Shoulder anatomy covers the collar bones, shoulder blades and upper arm bones (humerus).
It also covers the muscles that move (or stablize) the shoulder blades (and clavicles) relative to the ribcage.
It includes the single joint muscles that attach between the upper arm and the shoulder blade as well as the multijoint muscles that attach from torso to arm and from shoulder blade to forearm.
Because there is some overlap of function, I've also included elbow joint anatomy under this section.
The shoulder blades attach to the ribcage via the collar bones. Because this is the only bony attachment between the ribcage and the shoulder blade, each shoulder blade can glide relatively freely around the back and sides of the ribcage.
If you place one hand on a shoulder you can feel a bony projection at the top of the shoulder and near the edge. This is the accromion process, the point at which the shoulder blade connects to the collar bone. (Accromion is Greek for "Peak of the Shoulder").
If you move your shoulder forwards and backwards while keeping a hand on the acromion process, you'll feel it moving forwards and backwards relative to the ribcage. (Keep your ribcage stationary as you do this.)
If you keep the ribcage still as you move your shoulder what you may notice is that:
Because the collar bone and shoulder blade connect over the top of the rib cage, the rib cage can get in the way of some movements. By lifting the shoulder slightly, you make it easier to move the shoulder back further.
This can be helpful in yoga poses like plough pose, shoulder stand and bridge pose (with arms towards the feet) where your shoulder blades rest on the floor.
In any of these yoga poses, if you move your shoulders towards your ears you'll be able to get your shoulder blades closer together meaning that you'll be able to lift your ribcage, and more importantly, your upper thoracic vertebrae (and lower cervical vertebrae) off of the floor.
To develop the necessary control of your rhomboid muscle you can use shoulder exercises on the scapular awareness page.
Because the shoulder blades (or scapulae) can move quite freely relative to the ribcage, the arms should have a high degree of movement. If mobility between shoulder blades and ribcage is limited, arm motion can also be inhibited.
Specially designed shoulder exercises can help you become more aware of your shoulder anatomy while at the same time helping you to increase control of movements of your scapulae relative to your ribcage. (Control in this instance means both being able to stabilize your scapulae relative to your ribcage or mobilize it as required.)
These shoulder exercises can be used to develop conscious control of your serratus anterior and trapezius muscle which can be useful for arm positions where the arms are straight ahead or over the head such as warrior 1, plank, downward dog and handstand.
These shoulder exercises can be used to develop control of your pectoralis minor muscle.
The muscles that connect the shoulder blades to ribcage include:
These muscles can be used to move your shoulder blade relative to your ribcage. They can also be used to stabilize your shoulder blades with respect to your ribcage.
In some cases, these muscles can act against the weight of the arm or the weight of the body to create scapular stability. In other cases these muscles can be used against each other to create stability.
If you learn to relax and contract a particular muscle you can learn to feel the changes in sensation that accompany relaxing and contracting. By these feelings you can learn to feel where a muscle is relative to your body.
In some case you may not be able to feel these sensations (or it will take some practice.) So instead you can focus on feeling the points of attachment of the muscle.
If you focus on the points to which a muscle attaches to bone you can learn to activate muscles at will by moving one attachment point towards the other.
Your bones then become references points for both feeling and controlling your muscles.
In shoulder anatomy, the two most basic movements of the shoulder blades are retraction which means pulling inwards and protraction which means spreading the shoulder blades.
They can also be elevated or depressed
They can be rotated upwards (so that the outer edges of the shoulder blades move upwards) or rotated downwards.
Another action with no anatomical name is a flipping of the shoulder blade over the ribcage. A "reverse flip" is also possible.
The inside edge or "medial border" of the scapula is the part closest to the spinal column.
The serratus anterior, rhomboids, trapezius and levator scapulae all attach to the scapulae at the inside edge.
If you learn to feel the medial border of your scapulae you have a better chance of being able to activate these muscles at will. You'll then have improved control of your scapula.
The serratus anterior attaches to the front of the inside edge of the scapulae. It passes forwards between the scapula and the ribcage, wrapping around the sides of the ribcage to attach to the front corners of ribs 1 through 9 (and sometimes to rib 10.)
It can be divided into three parts, an upper, middle and lower part.
When active, serratus anterior tries to pull the inner edges of the shoulder blades away from the spine (protraction.) If both sides are active you can think of the inner edges of each shoulder blade moving away from each other. When the lower portion of this muscle is activated along with the upper and lower trapezius, then together these muscles can rotate the scapulae upwards. This usually occurs when the arms are lifted overhead.
If the serratus anterior fails to activate during upwards rotation, the shoulder blades will move inwards. A way to train the serratus anterior to active during upward rotation is to practice spreading the shoulder blades prior to upward rotation.
Rhomboids major and minor also attach to the inner border of the scapulae. The fibers of these muscles have the same angle as that of the serratus but pull the scapula in the opposite direction, towards the spine instead of away from it. The fibers of the Rhomboids reach upwards and inwards from the scapulae to the spinous processes of the upper thoracic vertebrae.
Rhomboids are the main shoulder muscles used when retracting the scapulae but they can also be active when downward rotating the scapulae (in combination with levator scapulae and pectoralis minor.)
Levator scapulae attaches to the top inside angle of the scapulae. This is just above the medial border. It reaches up to attach to the cervical vertebrae. This muscle pulls upwards on the inside edge of the scapula.
With the upper fibers of Trapezius, levator scapulae eleveates the scapula. And it's active in downward rotation along with the above mention rhomboids as well as pectoralis minor.
The upper trapezius attaches from just behind the coracoid process. It's fibers attach to the cervical vertebrae and the base of the skull.
These fibers act in elevation and upward rotation of the scapula.
The middle trapezius attaches to the upper edge of the spine of the scapule and crosses the back of the scapula to attach to the upper thoracic vertebrae (C7 to T5).
These fibers act in retraction and "reverse flipping."
The lower portion of the Trapezius attaches to the top inside angle of the scapulae and from there its fibers reach downwards and inwards to attach to the vertebrae of the lower thoracic spine (T5 to T12).
These fibers of the trapezius act in depression and upward rotation.
Remember that the acromion process is the peak of the shoulder.
Feeling the acromion process from the front, if you move your fingers downwards a little (about a centimeter or half an inch) and a little inwards, you may be able to feel the tip of the coracoid process. The two are close together so may actually feel like one bone.
The coracoid process is the attachment point of the pectoralis minor.
Pectoralis minor reaches down from the coracoid process to attach to the 3rd, 4th and 5th ribs. It can be used to pull the top of the shoulder blade forwards, over the ribcage, as if to flip it. And it's also involved in depressing the shoulder blade.
This muscle can be important in getting the hands into yoga arm positions like "cow face", prayer behind the back, as well as the prasaritta padotanasana C "hands behind the back" position.
If you do dance of shiva this muscle can be very helpful when moving into position 3.
Because of the way that the collar bone and shoulderblade are attached, in shoulder anatomy it might be useful to look at the muscles that work between the collar bone and the ribcage as muscles of scapular stabilization.
One rational for this is that if the scapula is stabilized (or being controlled in general) by the muscles of scapular control then the collar bone is also stabilized. It would make sense to think of the collar bone as an extension of the shoulder blade (or vice versa.)
Muscles that attach between the clavice and torso are the subclavius and the sternocleidomastoid.
Subclavius attaches between the clavicle and the first rib. It's function is similiar to that of pectoralis minor. It pulls the shoulder forwards and down. And so it too can be involved in "flipping" the shoulder blade.
Sternocleidomastoid has an attachment from the base of the skull to both the sternum and the clavicles. Because it attaches close to the sternocleido joint, it may not actually have much leverage to act on the clavicle. It may be the case that the clavicle acts as a foundaton from which this muscle can exert a forwards pull on the head.
So along with levator scapulae, and the upper trapezius, shoulder anatomy is closely tied in with the anatomy of the neck. The two can affect each other.
In Shoulder Anatomy, the muscles talked about so far are often referred to as muscles of "scapular stability." I'm going to instead refer to them as scapular control muscles since them move the scapula into the required positions as well as stabilize them.
In some cases these muscles work against each other to create stability. In other cases they work against the weight of the arm (when the arms aren't supporting the body) or against the weight of the body to create stability.
In shoulder anatomy where the scapular control muscles can be used to move the scapulae relative to the ribcage and also to hold them in place relative to the ribcage, the rotator cuff muscles can be used to help control the relationship between the arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula.)
In this discussion on shoulder anatomy, I will differ from the usual approach and group single joint muscles of the shoulder together. The idea is that all of these muscles together help to control the shoulder joint. And all of these muscles rely on a stable shoulder blade (and collar bone) in order to control the arm bone relative to the shoulder blade.
Moving from deeper to more superficial muscles, the single joint muscles of the shoulder anatomy are:
These muscles together act to help move the humerous with respect to the shoulder blade. And they can be used to stabilize the connection between the two making the shoulder joint more stable.
And because of this rotator cuff exercises should help you develop ribcage awareness, mobility and stability as well as scapular awareness, mobility and stability.
For shoulder anatomy the multijoint muscles that act across the shoulder can be divided into two main groups, those that attach between torso and upper arm and those that attach between scapula/clavicle and lower arm.
From torso to upper arm bone those muscles are:
From shoulder girdle to forearm those shoulder muscles are:
The muscles can be used to help control and move the arm relative to the torso or the forearm relative to the shoulder girdle.
It may be that these muscles become more controllable when control is gained over the single joint scapular control muscles and the single joint shoulder muscles.
Because of the overlap of poly-articular shoulder muslces with mono-articulate elbow joint muscles it makes sense for me to introduce single joint elbow muscles here.
It's worth including a discussion of elbow joint muscles since these muscles not only stabilize the elbow joint, they can also be used to control the rotational stability of the arm.
In yoga poses like downward dog and handstand, if the elbow muscles are used to control arm rotation, the shoulder muscles then don't have to. They can be focused on supporting the shoulder joint and ribcage.