Building Upper Body Strength

The arms are not typically used for weight-bearing.  Many yoga asana classes include strong weight-bearing postures such as plank, chaturanga, and downward-facing dog.  Experience an in-depth discussion of patterns of dysfunction that develop in the shoulders and education about the musculature necessary to load the shoulders safely.

Example Workshop Schedule

1 Hour: Overview of shoulder stability in the context of public yoga classes.  Introduction of basic musculature of the rotator cuff, scapular stabilizers and relevant areas of the neck and trunk.  Discussion of common compensatory strategies in everyday yoga postures and the practices required to effectively counter those patterns.

2-3 Hours:  Lecture and practice concerning scapular stabilizers. The arms connect to the trunk anteriorly via the small sternoclavicular joint and are stabilized by surrounding connective tissue.  Posteriorly, the shoulder blades serve as the junction between the arms and trunk.  This segment covers postures and exercises that activate key shoulder blade stabilizing muscles such as serratus anterior and the rhomboids.

2-3 Hours:  Lecture and practice dedicated to the activation of key muscle groups in weight-bearing asana. This segment is particularly useful for student's who typically practice flow-based asana.  Alignment in plank, chaturanga, upward-facing dog, and downward-facing dog is addressed as a group and one-on-one.  Students learn stepping stones and strategies to practicing these postures in the context of a public class.



3-6 hours



Facilitated Discussion: Weight-bearing with the upper body

Lecture and Practice:
The arms and asana

  • Breakdown of common postures: plank, chaturanga, downward dog, etc.
  • Basic exercises for strengthening shoulder stabilizers
  • Basic exercises for reducing the usage of the upper traps
  • Mobility exercises for proper shoulder function