Strong Shoulders, Open Shoulders

This class was inspired by  fellow yoga teacher Michael Mann. The sequence that starts with the low lunge twist, through prasarita and the second dolphin/forearm balance prep is all Michael’s genius. I threw in the half bind for extra spice, but the heart of this goodness is all him. The flow below works great for a more advanced group, though it’s easily modified for a beginner group.

When working with shoulders I emphasize three major points:

1. shoulder blades on top of the back, accessing the serratus anterior muscles to keep the bottom tips of the shoulder blades tucked in, rather than winging out. (For a great write up on the serratus anterior, check out Sarah Court’s post on YogaDork.)

2. broad collarbones and an open heart.

3. knees down will build more strength than you can possible imagine. So get over yourself, get over your ego and stick you knees on the mat. (Yoga tough love.)

Strong, open shoulders are a key component to an open heart and chest. Let’s get opening!!

Strong Shoulders a la Michael Mann
Time: 90 minutes
Suggested music: Justin Bieber mashups and Passion Pit (::wink::)

table top
thread the needle
tuck toes & lift knees 2 inches (ABS!)
downward facing dog
down dog to high plank, hold plank
three legged dog
bend knee, open hip
core plank
three legged dog
step to low lunge
deepen lunge on inhale
exhale back to pyramid pose/hamstring stretch
pulse with breath four times
runner’s lunge
down dog

step to front of mat
side stretch
intention setting
om om om

step back to down dog
dolphin with fingers interlaced
walk back to dolphin plank
child’s pose
down dog
three legged dog
core plank: right knee to outside of right elbow (maybe arm balance)
three legged dog
crescent lunge
crescent lunge
step back to plank
side plank

down dog
runners lunge
back knee to mat
modified twist with knee down 3 breaths
lift knee and open arms
half bind top arm
lift hips high and breath for 3-5 breaths
lift up to warrior II
reverse warrior
side angle
half/full bind
reverse warrior
prasarita A/B
walk hands around to back of mat and lunge into opposite knee
repeat standing sequence from runners lunge
walk hands around to front of mat

dolphin (forearms parallel to each other on mat)
forearm balance or little hops

active child’s pose (pressing hands to mat, drawing shoulder blades and hips back)
inchworm/puppy pose (anahatasana)
prone shoulder stretch
locusts with block between ankles and hands interlaced
floor bow
table top
down dog
jump through to seated, roll to back
supported bridge/bridge/wheels for 20-25 breaths

supta baddha konasana
knees to chest
happy baby
rock n roll to down dog

half pigeon/double pigeon


supine twist



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