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More Best Yoga Poses

Wall Dog Pose

Benefits and How It Works: Safely reduces pain of arm abduction and flexion by substituting the action of the well-functioning subscapularis muscle for the torn supraspinatus.

Contraindications: Severe adhesive capsulitis, severe injury of the subscapularis muscle.
Note: This is the easiest but least effective use of the TFS; still, it works 80 percent of the time.


Wall Dog Pose
Wall Dog Pose


The Pose: Stand with your feet together facing a wall and about 18 inches from it. Interlock your fingers and press your palms together. The heels of the hands should be touching. Lean forward and rest the little finger sides of your hands and your forearms on the wall in an equilateral triangle at lower chest height. Step two to three feet away from the wall, sliding your forearms another three or four inches down the wall as you do so. Arch your back. Keep your fingers and palms in contact as you press against the wall with your forearms, just below your elbows. Use this pressure to move your shoulders down toward your waist and away from the wall. Enlarge the distance between your shoulders and your ears. The upper third of the trapezius muscle should be soft. The subscapularis should be working, but because it is covered by the shoulderblade, no one can feel it but you. Hold the position for about 45 seconds.

Then stand up and quickly and smoothly raise your arms out to the sides, and in that plane, up above your head, fingers pointing to the ceiling. (Don’t go halfway and stop, and don’t start by putting your arms out in front of you and raising them in that plane.) Bravely repeat raising your arms at least twice. Then smoothly and quickly raise your arms out in front of you and all the way up, fingers pointing to the ceiling. Do it twice. Avoid raising your arms up halfway, to about where the pain used to start, and stopping there because it has hurt in the past and might hurt now. If you do that, it will hurt, and you will have taught yourself nothing. In fact, it will be harder to learn the maneuver after that. Instead, smoothly raise the arms all the way up, and do it rather quickly. This requires nerve, daring, and a certain amount of trust.





Chair Headstand

Benefits and How It Works: Creates a natural gravitational resistance to raising the shoulders away from the ears, activating the subscapularis muscle considerably more than the maneuver against a wall; this is because of the inversion. Resting the legs on a chair reduces the compressive forces on the cervical spine and removes the issue of balance. This is a straightforward headstand, modified for those who are inexperienced. It is the most effective way to activate the subscapularis.

Contraindications: Severe cervical problems, severe vertigo, retinal detachment, glaucoma, orthostatic hypotension. It is ideal for those with mild cervical injuries that make it inadvisable to bear the full weight of the body on the head, but who can withstand the half-weight of their torsos.

Note: It’s best to begin practicing this with a teacher or other spotter.


Chair Headstand
Chair Headstand


The Pose: Place the back of a chair against a wall so it doesn’t slide. If the chair is not upholstered, place a folded yoga mat or blanket on the seat to cushion your knees. Stand on a blanket folded in four with the backs of your knees against the front of the chair. Raise your right knee and place it on the seat of the chair. Your right shin should be vertical, rising up from the chair. Bend forward, placing both palms on the floor. Lift the left leg behind you, resting your bent knee on the seat of the chair, shin vertical. Walk your hands in toward the front of the chair, so your torso is close to vertical. Bend your elbows slowly until the top of your head—not your forehead—rests firmly on the blanket. Interlock your fingers, with your palms against one another behind your head. Press down with your elbows and the first four or five inches of your forearms just below your elbows to raise your shoulders away from your ears. When you are stable, walk your knees out toward the front edge of the seat of the chair to orient your torso more vertically. Hold yourself there for 45 seconds. Then come down quickly by bringing first one knee (or foot) to the floor, then the other. Quickly stand up. Immediately lift both arms smoothly and rather quickly toward the ceiling.

If getting right up makes you dizzy or you tend to stagger, then do the headstand for a little longer, say a minute or more, and get up more slowly, with someone helping you. If you continue to do inversions in this or just about any way, your sympathetic nervous system will soon learn to contract the smaller blood vessels of your legs when you get up, and the lightheadedness will either vanish or greatly subside. In the meantime, you can stand with the backs of your knees against the front of the chair to stabilize yourself as you raise your arms.




Sirsasana(Headstand)


Benefits and How It Works: This is another good way to activate the subscapularis, provided balance is not an issue.

Warning: Always use a blanket placed on the floor six inches from a wall to help prevent falling backward. Get the approval of a qualified teacher before doing headstand without a wall behind you.

Contraindications: Imbalance, glaucoma, Chiari malformation, cerebral aneurysm or other cerebrovascular problems, herniated cervical disc, cervical facet syndrome, severe hypertension, orthostatic hypotension, history of head, neck or brain surgery, frozen shoulder, retinal detachment.


Sirsasana(Headstand)
Sirsasana(Headstand)

The Pose: Place a folded blanket on the floor with one edge against a wall. Kneel on the floor nine inches away from its edge. Clasp your hands firmly and rest them in the middle of the blanket to form two sides of an equilateral triangle. Place the top of your head (not your forehead) in the middle of the triangle. Straighten your knees and slowly walk in toward your head, until your pelvis is over your arms and head. Then gradually lift your legs to vertical. After your balance is secure, press downward with your elbows and forearms and lift your shoulders far away from the floor. Keep your head on the blanket. Remain in this position for 45 seconds. Then slowly lower your legs, kneel, stand up and proceed at once to raising your arms as described above.





Setu Bandhasana(Bridge Pose)


Benefits and How It Works: Contracting the middle and lower back, stretching the ventral musculature and breathing as above seems to restore the cerebral circulation and relax the muscles of the scalp.

Contraindications: Carotid dissection or other carotid arterial or jugular venous pathology, cervical disc herniation.

Helpful Hints:The further you pull your shoulders away from your head and toward your hips, the more effective this posture will be.

Setu Bandhasana(Bridge Pose)
Setu Bandhasana(Bridge Pose)


The Pose: Lie supine on a mat, arms at your sides, a second mat folded beneath your shoulders. Bend your knees. Do not move your feet as you inhale, but push them away from you as you raise your torso off the mat. In other words, straighten your knees a little without sliding your feet away from you.
The action will raise your chest forward, toward a position over your throat.
Place your hands, fingers pointing toward each other, under the back of your waist. After you establish stability in this position, press your feet away from you, again without moving them. Use this force to raise your torso higher and lift your chest more vertically up over your chin. Breathe slowly and symmetrically. Fill the bottoms of your lungs first, then the middle, stretching them out to the sides and in toward each other. Then inflate the very tops of the lungs, between your shoulders and your throat.

Do not count the breaths; rather, breathe until you are comfortable. Stop before you are uncomfortable. Come out of the pose by reversing the steps above: relax the pressure on the feet and release your hands and slowly unroll the torso. Remain with knees bent for a short time before extending your legs and sitting up.