Video Fitness

Yoga Tune Up: Shoulder Shakti

Jill Miller

Shoulder Shakti is a 35-minute focused practice designed to culminate in two poses: Chaturanga Dandasana and Gormukasana (cow-face pose). Jill begins with several moves that emphasize the circumduction of the shoulders and help you to understand exactly how your arms move in their sockets. She starts lying on her side and performs full arm circles in both directions; after repeating on the other side, she does the same thing from a standing position. Next comes a unique version of shoulder circles: with your hands clasped above your head, she has you circle your clasped arms as if you were creating a vertical halo behind your head. After a quick shoulder stretch (hands clasped behind back), she moves to the floor for a unique pose she calls "Yoga Mudflap Girl." Here, Jill sits in a seated position with legs bent, arms behind, pinky fingers touching, and she encourages you to try to bend your elbows--very tough! She then moves to an all fours position to practice shoulder protraction/retraction before finally attempting chaturanga and finishing with a shoulder stretch in child's pose. This first segment of the practice lasts about 22 minutes.

The second part of the practice works toward gormukasana, or cow-face pose. Jill begins here with a tranditional tricep stretch (ie, one arm bent behind head, opposite hand on elbow to increase the stretch). Going back to the floor, she moves into dolphin prep, which she describes as an extreme external rotation for the upper arm bones. Next it's back to standing for an arm rotation, this time stretching the arm low behind the back as you would for gormukasana. Jill has you repeat this stretch a second time using a block between your arm and your back, which helps to increase the feeling of rotation. Finally, she moves into full gormukasana, showing you how to use a strap if needed. Prior to trying this video, I had NEVER been able to even come close to touching my hands with my right arm underneath (I could do it with the right arm on top), but after only my second time through this DVD, I did it! The practice finishes with a nice 4 minute savasana.

This is an excellent practice for not only helping you attain/perfect the two pinnacle postures but also for thoroughly stretching your arms and shoulders--you will definitely feel sore the next day! I think Jill is unique in her offering of this focused practice series, and I highly recommend her work.

Instructor comments: This is my second Jill Miller video (I also have Triangle Tune Up), and I like her a lot. Although the video isn't big on production values (the set is sparse and the sound is a bit echo-y), Jill's live instruction feels like a true yoga class--wonderful!

Beth C

December 28, 2006

Setting: Yoga Studio.

Production Values: Jill's voice is somewhat echo-y.

Shoulder Warm-up 1 -
Circumduction - performed in side-lying and standing positions.
Shoulder Warm-Up 2 - Standing shoulder circles. Arms are extended up from shoulder, hands clasped with palms facing upward. Make circular "halo" movements behind head. Reverse direction.
Arm Stretch - arms clasped behind lower back, raise until there is good warmth in arm and shoulder (can use strap if flexibility limited).
Yogi Mudflap Girl - shoulder extensions.
Shoulder-Ups - Assume tabletop position. Retract and protract shoulders.
Yogi Push-ups (preparation for Chaturanga Dandasana).
Child's Pose
Child's Pose
Preparation for Gomukasana (cow face pose) - dolphin prep, arm rotation, arm rotation using yoga block.

Comments: My shoulders feel wonderful after I do this DVD. I have shoulder issues, and I'm noticing a gradual improvement in my range of motion after using this practice.

Instructor comments: Jill comes across as being warm and light-hearted, but not over the top. She uses excellent form, and provides modifications, as well as advice on using props.


April 24, 2007

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