Scapulohumeral rhythm is the coordinated movement that should occur between the shoulder and scapulocostal joints during all movements of the arm. We feel that there are a handful of verbal cues and hands-on assists out there in yoga world that go against this rhythm, which can lead to shoulder instability and/or impingement syndrome (e.g., "plug the arms into the sockets," "draw the shoulderblades down the back," "melt the heart" in plank, etc.). Learning more about scapulohumeral rhythm will better inform your own practice, refine the biomechanical accuracy of your verbal cues and hands-on assists, and help keep your shoulder joints happy and healthy.
In the first video in this series we explored the anatomy and movements available at the shoulder and scapulocostal joints. In the second video we explored how movements of the shoulder joint should be coupled with movements of the scapulocostal joint to ensure safe, efficient biomechanics at the shoulder joint complex that will help prevent injury. In this video, we examine shoulder impingement syndrome... and offer three suggestions to help prevent it. This is knowledge that you can put to immediate use in your practice and teaching!
In subsequent videos we'll explore:
Depending upon the way that you practice triangle pose, and for sure there is more than one way to practice it, you may be attempting to laterally tilt your pelvis as you come into the posture in order to keep the top side waist short, the bottom side waist long, and to increase the stretch in the hamstrings. However, if you or your students are turning the pelvis too far to the side it may not be able to laterally tilt very far due to bony compression between the rim of the hip socket and the neck of the femur. In this short video clip, we demonstrate how turning the pelvis toward the front leg before going into the posture allows for significantly more range of motion in the pelvis. Once the pelvis has tilted, you can then place the hand on the leg (or a block or the floor), and use your core abdominal muscles to help rotate the trunk toward the side, allowing the pelvis to follow as much as it might like or need to. Check out the video, experiment and let us know what you think!
Are you practicing Virabhadrasana 2 with your hips "square to the side" and your front hip bone lifted in an effort to "make your pelvis more level"? These two cues seem to be very popular in Warrior 2, and while they might have some benefit early on, as your flexibility increases there is a good chance that they will lead to bony compression in your hip joints, which over time might wear down the cartilage and other soft tissues in and around the hip. This isn't going to benefit you in any way, and could potentially lead to osteoarthritis later in life, so it's good to learn how to recognize compression when it's happening so that you can back off. And if you're teaching asana, it's good to know how to cue the posture to help your students avoid compression.