Downward Facing Dog Shoulder Alignment

I just posted about the Down Dog shoulders in our social media, and the images went viral with over 3000 views overnight. In case you don’t follow us on Instagram or FB yet, you can rectify the issue by clicking the links below:
One of the reasons these posts go viral is their controversy. So many yoga teachers and schools still teach drawing the shoulders down or rolling them away from the ears, whereas we want to see a huge shift in the standards of yoga teaching, where all this anatomical misinformation is cleared and teaching is based on science.
Down Dog is usually one of the first poses we learn and one of the most common poses in Vinyasa Flow classes. I personally found this pose extremely challenging for many many years, so I hope you’ll find this post useful.
Left: Here the arms are externally rotated and shoulder blades pulled away from the ears. Don’t try this at home! This misalignment can be injurious. (yep, taking this photo felt awful).
Right: Here the arms are internally rotated and shoulder blades elevated all the way up to the ears. This commonly happens, if someone attempts to push through limited shoulder flexion ie. try to press the chest towards the thighs to get the arms in line with the ears. And doing so the range of motion doesn’t increase.
Bottom: Arms neutral, not rotated in or out. Shoulder blades rotated up as high as needed for the arms to go over the head. Even if your arms are not in line with the ears yet, keeping the arms in this natural position will open the shoulders. It also helps to tilt the shoulder blades back i.e. improve posture and open the chest.
Writen By Jenni Morrison