7 Myths About Yoga Alignment for Good Health


Myth 2: In Chaturanga, the chest should point toward the ground.

Opening up the chest is a key component for the whole shoulder to work together in Chaturanga. It’s important to learn how to fire the muscles in symphony, rather than overusing any one muscle or part of the shoulder at a time. Because most people tend to be stronger in the pec muscles than the back of the shoulder, we often round the shoulders forward. However, we want to keep the head of the humerus centered in the joint by balancing the strength in the front and back of the shoulder. Turning the sternum forward to open the chest assists in engaging the muscles of the posterior shoulder. The rhomboids together with serratus anterior form a strap effect to stabilize the shoulder blade, which also assists the muscles that keep the arm bone centered in the shoulder socket. The key to this is to stretch the chest open before bending your elbows and keep your core engaged. The core is critical here to prevent dropping the pelvis and sagging in the low back. With your core engaged, as you open the chest the spine will curve a little bit, which prepares you to head into Upward-Facing Dog as you’ve already begun to initiate a backbend.

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