Downward Dog: Shoulder Alignment
The second installment of the three-part series on alignment for downward dog, or adho mukha svanasana focuses on the alignment of the arms and shoulders. In order for the weight of the body to be borne on the arms in the pose, the upper arm must be externally rotated so that the scapula can drawn down and held wide on the back body. Strengthening around the shoulder, especially accessing the serratus anterior under the outer shoulder blade is key in maintaining proper shoulder alignment. While the upper arm is externally rotated, the lower arm in internally rotated so that the palms can rest flat on the floor and as the bone sof the arm align, the pose becomes easier to hold.
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I attend Cheryl's class regularly and feel that my practice has improved immensely over the past few years due to her expert coaching. Her teaching style is clear and compassionate and her previous experience in teaching adults is evident in her organized approach and easy to understand instructions. I also appreciate that Cheryl not only teaches us about how to correctly position ourselves, but also touches on many aspects of yoga philosophy, which in turn has deepened my personal practice and heightened my awareness of the connection between mind and body, breath and relaxation.