Improve your Mountain Pose with Yoga Blocks
Many of us carry tension around the neck and shoulder areas and it’s not unusual for us to subconsciously “hold” one shoulder higher than the other.
When we come into Mountain Pose Tadasana, it can be difficult to let go of this tension purely on instruction alone. As both teachers and students we can probably all feel into those times when a cue to “release the shoulders” just doesn’t provoke the sought-after response.
Being creative with yoga blocks can help in two ways:
Firstly, by placing a Buttafly under the arm, the body is taken out of the familiar and as such the associated habitual holding patterns are not activated in the same way. Effectively the new position “tricks” the body out of recalling its muscle memory!
Secondly, a very gentle “traction” force is set up at the shoulder joint, where the ball is drawn away from the socket. This offers a similar mobilisation to a gentle technique we use all the time in physiotherapy and the enhanced local blood supply may help provide relief for both stiffness and pain, for example for arthritis or following injury.
You can try using regular blocks or rolled up towels but the Buttafly is ideal because the concavity of the indent effectively cradles the arm. In addition, because the foam holds its shape as compared to a towel, it’s easier to set up a symmetrical position which will feel altogether more comfortable.
Release Tension with this Technique:
Come into Tadasana with a Buttafly in one hand. Lift the opposite arm away from the body and bring the Buttafly as close as you can up to the armpit (if for some reason you cannot lift the arm away from the body, move the trunk away from the arm).
Realign yourself in a nice standing posture – the skin on the inside of the arm is often quite sensitive and as the body assumes the weight of the arm you can set up a Chinese burn so go gently because it hurts! I know, I’ve done it!
There’s no reason at all why you can’t do one arm at a time – I just love using two because it’s so relaxing.
Would love to hear how you get on