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Armless Yoga: Give Your Shoulders a Break

This entry was posted on Mar 14, 2023 by Charlotte Bell.

Parivrtta Sukhasana on Nature Mat - Aegean Sea

Our arms are our devices of doing. We use them to perform virtually every thing we do in our each day lives. We use them to cut veggies, to kind on our keyboards, to eat, to drink, to lug objects from one place to a different, plus many, many extra issues, all day lengthy. We feature this behavior into our yoga observe. We use our arms to assist our our bodies and to extend depth in our asanas. For instance, in Parvrtta Sukhasana (Revolved Simple Pose), we use our arm to tug us into the twist. In Trikonasana (Triangle Pose), we regularly lengthen our prime arm again to assist open the chest, and we assist ourselves in our decrease arm. However utilizing our arms to accentuate our poses can typically result in shoulder stress. It sounds bizarre, however armless yoga would possibly typically be a shoulder-nurturing method to play together with your observe.

Working towards armless yoga doesn’t imply that you must lose your arms altogether. We have to use them for a large number of poses. Assume Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Going through Canine Pose), Phalakasana (Plank Pose), and so on. However there are some asanas, like the 2 talked about above, the place we are inclined to create stress within the shoulders by overusing our arms. This can be a pure tendency as a result of “doing” is the function our arms play in our lives. Typically it would even really feel as in case you are utilizing your arms to inflict the pose in your physique. Can we as a substitute use them as a assist to our observe moderately than to accentuate it?

Why Apply Armless Yoga?

The advantages of training armless yoga transcend merely relieving shoulder stress. Not that relieving shoulder stress is insignificant. Most of us carry some measure of stress in our shoulders and neck. After I take requests from college students for what they’d prefer to observe in a category, the shoulders and neck are virtually at all times first on the listing.

In standing poses particularly, after we overuse our arms, our core and legs can disengage. This decreases the stabilizing qualities of standing poses and makes our arms do the work that the legs and core ought to be doing.

However there’s extra to it. The bodily advantages of asana observe go deeper than stretching muscle groups. Our yoga observe can promote physiological well being as nicely. Stretching and strengthening are actually aspect advantages to the primary goal—the nervous system.

Once we observe with aggression, utilizing our arms to power ourselves additional into poses, we will stimulate the sympathetic (fight-or-flight) nervous system. Asana was cultivated over centuries to do the other—to suppress the sympathetic nervous system and to permit us to relaxation within the parasympathetic (rest-and-digest) aspect of the autonomic nervous system. This creates the physiological atmosphere that finest helps meditation—the guts of yoga.

Find out how to Apply Revolved Simple Pose sans Arms

I’ll use a easy instance to display how one can observe armless yoga. You possibly can take this instruction into all rotated poses.

  1. Sit in Sukhasana (Simple Pose) on a folded Yoga Blanket. In the event you discover that your lumbar backbone is rounded again on this place, be happy to observe this pose sitting in a chair.
  2. Rotate your torso to the appropriate, scooting your proper hip again in order that your pelvis is in settlement with the twist. This helps to maintain your sacroiliac (SI) joint in a impartial place.
  3. Place your left hand on the appropriate knee or thigh. Merely place your hand there, with out pulling your torso additional into the twist.
  4. As an alternative of utilizing your arm to “full” the twist, think about you can invite your core into the pose. By the core, I imply the inner constructions of your physique, primarily your stomach and thoracic organs. Right here’s the way it works. Think about drawing your proper lung and kidney again into your again physique. Concurrently draw your left lung and kidney, and your coronary heart ahead. Then draw your liver (on the appropriate) again and your abdomen (on the left) ahead. Now invite your ascending and descending colon into the twist. Draw the ascending (simply inside the appropriate aspect of your pelvis) again and the descending colon (simply contained in the left aspect of your pelvis) ahead. Think about the core (organs) and shell (muscle groups, bones and pores and skin) of your physique rotating collectively.
  5. Keep for five to 10 breaths, transferring out of your core and holding your left arm relaxed.
  6. Return to middle. Take a number of breaths to really feel the residue from the pose, after which rotate to the left.

Energize and Stabilize: Armless Yoga in Standing Poses

Working towards standing poses with out utilizing your arms can present you areas the place your physique shouldn’t be collaborating as a lot as it would. It’s widespread to overstretch the shoulder of your prime arm in Triangle Pose, and to disengage your legs and lean in your backside hand. I’ll instruct Triangle Pose right here, however you’ll be able to observe different standing poses this manner as nicely.

  1. Stand on a nonskid Yoga Mat together with your ft parallel and a pair of to three ft aside.
  2. Flip your proper leg out 90 levels and switch your left leg—together with the pelvis—in 30 levels. Don’t attempt to sq. your hips. Learn this text to be taught why it’s vital to not observe this ever-popular alignment cue.
  3. Draw your arms into your sides together with your palms pointing downward.
  4. Now start to bend to the appropriate into Triangle Pose, stopping at no matter level you’re feeling a stretch however can keep straightforward respiratory. The 2 sides of your torso ought to each be lengthy and your chest ought to face ahead.
  5. Discover your legs. Are they working a bit tougher than typical? How about your core muscle groups? If both or each these areas are working tougher than you’re used to, it’s probably since you’ve been disengaging your legs and leaning in your backside hand.
  6. Now think about opening the ribcage—not the pelvis—towards the entrance utilizing your organs in the identical approach as in Revolved Simple Pose. On this case that signifies that the appropriate lung shall be gently drawing ahead, and the left lung and coronary heart shall be gently drawing again.
  7. Take 3 to five deep breaths right here after which return to an upright place. Rotate your legs in order that your ft are parallel.
  8. Take a number of breaths on this impartial place earlier than training the pose on the left aspect.

Working towards Armless Yoga

You don’t must observe your standing poses this manner on a regular basis, in fact. However whenever you do observe with the standard arm place, ensure you’re not overusing your arms. Your legs and core ought to be your major assist, and the orientation of your ribcage ought to come out of your core additionally, moderately than your prime arm.

And significantly whenever you twist or ahead bend, test to see in case your arms are inflicting the pose in your physique moderately than merely supporting the trajectory of the pose. Chill out your shoulders and permit your poses to unfold naturally.

About Charlotte Bell

Charlotte Bell found yoga in 1982 and commenced educating in 1986. Charlotte is the creator of Conscious Yoga, Conscious Life: A Information for On a regular basis Apply and Yoga for Meditators, each printed by Rodmell Press. Her third e-book is titled Hip-Wholesome Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Information to Defending the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Ache (Shambhala Publications). She writes a month-to-month column for CATALYST Journal and serves as editor for Yoga U On-line. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte performs oboe and English horn within the Salt Lake Symphony and folks sextet Purple Rock Rondo, whose DVD gained two Emmy awards in 2010.

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