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LarryD517

Shoulder issues in Cow Face and Reverse Namaste

6 posts in this topic

I have difficulty doing Cow Face pose. I found these two images which shows my problem.

cow.JPG.7736b40e954bdada343bce6e06049518

Basically, my arm naturally is like the right image, it goes out to the side, not down. If I use my other hand to get the arm closer so my elbow is near the side of my ribs, I can't get the elbow into an acute like the image on the left.

I'm also having trouble with Reverse Namaste

th.jpg.023020370d9209f95ade6367357c360c.

My hands are lower on the back and the palms are a bit further apart than this image

I've been doing shoulder opening exercises at least 5 days a week for the last six months...and my hands are still about eight inches away from each other in cow face.

Same for Marichayasana B. My hips are open, so I can fold over completely and touch my nose to my knee, but for the life of me, I can't get the hands to bind.

Are men's shoulders constructed differently than women's? 

 

Minor rant...I wish folks would post images online for imperfect poses...you have to search through tons of expert's photos to find one not quite there yet photo. End of rant

 

mimisouth likes this

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16 hours ago, LarryD517 said:

 

Minor rant...I wish folks would post images online for imperfect poses...you have to search through tons of expert's photos to find one not quite there yet photo. End of rant

 

Well it's a good thing I'm coming out with a book this fall, huh?! ;) Sounds like it may be juuuust what you're looking for. Ok zippering my mouth shut. #shh 

So, yes, men and women are constructed differently. It's why I was taught to tell women to take a slightly wider stance with the legs for warrior 1 (because men have narrower hips). For shoulders/upper body, men generally have more muscle and less flexibility. Over time, I am confident that you will be able to clasp the hands. I would do something like the third pic here (only bend the legs a bit more and focus on feeling the stretch through the chest and armpits) and of course use a strap. I also like the idea of just draping yourself over a stability ball with the arms overhead and hanging out there very passively for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Also, every single one of these will be helpful as will this shoulder stretch. This sequence will be good - especially 7. Focus on keeping the chin parallel to the floor but lifting the elbows as high as you possible can. You can repeat 7-8 a bunch of times before you start your normal sun salutations if you'd like for an added umph. Hope that helps!

mimisouth likes this

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9 hours ago, YogaByCandace said:

Well it's a good thing I'm coming out with a book this fall, huh?

Need a (work in progress) novice to model?

 

9 hours ago, YogaByCandace said:

yes, men and women are constructed differently.

I'm not a religious man, but Thank God for that! The difference in construction is the reason I look forward to waking up each day :)

 

9 hours ago, YogaByCandace said:

Also, every single one of these will be helpful

I do the third one for five minutes 3 days a week and on the other days, for about a minute. 

 

9 hours ago, YogaByCandace said:

as will this shoulder stretch

Yup, this too

 

I know this sounds crazy, but my problem is that I feel I've already done a good job (six months or more) working on the shoulders (that is, I've diligently followed much of the advice here, and elsewhere). I mentor newer yogis, one of them, a lady, easily achieves binds, despite her relative inexperience, so, yeah, I'm frustrated by my skeletal structure. Okay, there are worse things in life to worry about, huh?

 

Here's my New Year's Gift to Buckman, his loving parents and the rest of the kind folk visiting and helping others at this forum

 

mimisouth likes this

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I Feel your pain Larry and I know yoga is a personal journey but just occasionally I also feel frustration that others achieve the same goals as me before I do.... 

yogafire and Hildegard like this

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I think this is a lesson in learning to accept our own skeletal structures and to also know that progress isn't always visible.

I understand though the frustration of not seeing visible progress, but the shoulder openings could be also helping you in other poses that you just haven't realized yet. 6 months isn't that long to probably see visible progress for intense openings.  Instead, focus on other subtle changes - do you feel more comfortable getting into these poses than before? Is there less tightness in other areas, or can you focus on breathing into the areas that are tight? 

I know you already know this, but remember that in the picture of the archer arms / cow face that both left and right are doing exactly the same amount of work - the person on the left just needs to go to that extreme angle to feel the same stretch as the one on the right.  So don't discount yourself on how you look in a pose.

And yes, we are all built differently and flexibility in different areas come more naturally for others.  For instance, in you mention Marichayasana B. I can bind, but I can't reach my nose to knee at all.  Which is more important? Trick question, it doesn't matter.

My subtle breakthroughs on proper alignment and form have helped me more than achieving the full expression. Using a strap is helping you focus on the proper alignment.  Next time you envy someone's "shoulder flexibility", know that it might be at a price.  Yes, people can look more flexible, but if it's due to hypermobility, it's going to cause wear and tear on the joints and ligaments in the long-run.  Take the cow face arms - if I don't think about broadening my upper back and not collapsing my shoulder blades, my top elbow goes directly behind my head instead of straight up from the arm. I was contorting my top shoulder to clasp my hands without being corrected for years. I'm sure some other teachers just thought, without looking more closely, "oh, look, she's got it, clasping her hands. Let me go help someone else now." Given all my chronic neck and shoulder pain that I have now, I don't envy this natural openness since it means my joints loose and my muscles are constantly overstretched / weakened by trying to support them in place.

I hope this helps you be more patient with yourself and recognize progress that isn't visible externally.

 

brenskip55 likes this

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...frustration that others achieve the same goals as me before I do...

Yup, but since so few of my associates can do Scale,

Scale-Pose.png.96931447874957e50e1d6fe63

I'm happy to show it off every chance I get!

 

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