love your shoulders

i had another amazing workshop with the lovely Jay Fields (see earlier post on standing stronger & softer) at Trinity Yoga Centre.

Jay Fields (

This session focused on Downward Dog… a pose commonly used to visualize hatha yoga. It was an opportunity to explore the shoulder girdle, psoas, muscle of the lower legs and feet – and generally feel the interconnectedness of the body. It’s amazing to stretch the bottom of your feet and see it translate to spaciousness in your downward dog!

One aspect that resonated with me was the feeling of “intimacy with your posture”… the more you are intimate with someone, the more you love ALL their parts. This translates to your yoga practice as well, the more you “get to know” your posture, the more you begin to love the softness and openness, as well as the struggles.

a nice big yoga hug

the shoulder girdle is amazing in that the clavicle, scapula and humerus are only connected to the axial skeleton (spine) at the sternum! and what do you think happens when we have a stress-response… we hunch forward to find/protect that stable spot.

the shoulder girdle

we explored “putting our girdle on” or creating a stable shoulder, as well as stretching the wrist and forearms (which Jay so warmly referred to as “throwup series” because of the intense stretch and nerves) and lower legs (which, surprisingly, impact your downward dog more than you would think).

so, i put my “girdle on”, firmly planted my hands/fingers, softened my hip flexors, engaged core, moved inner thighs back, and released my heels towards floor… what do you think?

after 3 hours of working my TIGHT shoulders...

now, working towards strong stable shoulders

thank you Jay for, again, bringing more openness to my yoga practice. can’t wait to see you again in the fall! much love.

p.s. all this new knowledge about how to stretch and strengthen the shoulder girdle will really come in handy for paddling the Bowron Lakes next weekend 🙂