Have you ever gotten "into" a pose only to think, "This isn't doing anything for me? What's supposed to be going on here? I feel like I'm just hanging out."
It's probably because you are. We've all had those practices where the victory was just showing up on the mat; anything after that was gravy. But if you're in class or practicing on your own and you think "Meh," do a body scan looking for where you aren't feeling things. Focus your attention there. Activate the muscles in that region.
We refer to some poses as "hip" poses or "shoulder" or "heart" openers, but every pose is for every part of your being. Body, breath and mind.
In standing poses we often spend a lot of time setting up foundation - feet, legs and hips. As a result, sometimes arms, neck and head go limp: we vacate and allow those body parts to "be" somewhere else. Those poses can have profound effects on neck and shoulder happiness, as long as we practice those poses with those parts of our bodies.
In Warrior I, spin the pinkie side of the hand a little closer than the thumb side. Your upper arms will now be externally rotated, integrating your upper arms into the shoulder joints. Now, before folding down and stepping back to Down Dog, simply flex your wrists so your fingers point back. Maintain this alignment as you place your hands and step back.
This week we focus on shoulders in standing poses and how those positions are transitioned or mirrored in other poses to build openness and strength. The core holds the pose at the center, integrates upper and lower body. Your limbs express your pose and are your way of reaching out into the world from the deep well of your reserve.
Build that reserve: practice. Every day.