MY FAVORITE CUES

New inspiring cue that revolves around the theme of the month each Wednesday. All content taken is taken down at the end of the month when new theme is posted.

THEME: CHATURANGA AND PLANK POSE

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All cues are meant to be used when you’re in full expression of the pose unless otherwise noted.

Week 1

From plank pose, pull armpits towards the back of your mat and hug inner armpits in- as if you had a newspaper under each armpit that someone was trying to take away.

Why?
As you may very well know, to help prevent "wear and tear" in the shoulder joint, it is believed by many that we don’t want our shoulder blades to move much when lowering into chaturanga. There are quite a few muscles that will help stabilize the shoulder blades on the back, the latissimus dorsi and lower trapezius being two of them.

Pulling the armpits to the back of the mat engages the lower trapezius, and according to Jennilee Toner (teacher of yoga and human anatomy and the author of "The Perfect Chaturanga: A Comprehensive Guide to the Human Body Through the Practice of Vinyasa Yoga"), this helps "to free the clavicle area of unnecessary and possibly injurious tension and compression.”

Hugging the armpits in engages the lats giving you more power and stability. Jenny also says “Latissimus dorsi draws the humerus in so that the head of the humerus can be in line with the distal end (the elbow joint)."

Let’s take advantage and use these bigger muscles when practicing Chaturanga. Keep it simple…armpits back and in!

Week 2

In plank pose, press outer armpits down and lift inner armpits up.

Why? In addition to the muscles we went over in the first week’s cue (link), we also want the serratus anterior muscle (protracts/wraps the shoulder blades towards the front body) to engage as we lower down to help stabilize the scapula on the back.

Thus, the cue of pressing through the outer armpit and lifting through the inner armpit helps to engage the serratus by slightly protracting the shoulder blades. I heard this cue at a workshop I was at from Jules Mitchell (check out her new book!).

Week 3

This cue is from Dr. Ray Long and seems to help quite a few students find more strength and stability in chaturanga.

Cue: as you lower down into chaturanga, “attempt to scrub the mat forward with the hands.” The hands won’t actually move as you do this because it is an isometric contraction.

Why? Dr. Long says the forward scrubbing action of the hands activates the biceps and brachialis muscles and helps to stabilize the elbows.

Week 4

New cue coming the 4th Wednesday this month.

***The cues I find and post are by well respected body experts and Doctors who teach yoga and other body nerds like myself.

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