Please focus your attention to my shoulder stretch in the picture. After ten years, this is still how far I can go in this shoulder stretch. I have always had tight shoulders and trapezius muscles. My shoulders and trapezius muscles are sore a lot of the time, and even get pulled. As you can image, this can make multiple poses hard to achieve even Chaturanga.
As a new yogi, I started to learn Sun Salutations, and always wanted to get the perfect Chaturanga. I would place my hands perfectly, middle finger facing forward and fingers spread wide. Still, Chaturanga was not happening. I figured it was my tight shoulders and trapezius muscles not allowing me to bend my elbows back. Fast forward ten years later, I learned to modify my practice with Knees-Chin-Chest. Now, I am all for modifying for what the body needs, but I knew that I was strong enough for Chaturanga, but I could never bend my elbows backward into my rib cage. I could never be in the right alignment for Chaturanga.
I had let my expectation go that I would ever achieve Chaturanga. Until one morning class when the yoga instructor stated that my shoulders were falling forward even when I was modifying my Chaturanga. I was crushed. All my hard work was still not paying off. Luckily, it happened to be a special event weekend at the studio, where a 1:1 class with an instructor was offered. I signed up immediately.
I prepared myself for the private lesson mentally. I was going to walk in with no expectations of ever getting Chaturanga correct. We warmed our muscles with Sun Salutations, and the instructor saw right away I was falling forward. Then, the instructor told me to turn my hands outward in order for my elbows to go straight back. I looked at her cautiously, believing that this would never happen. I placed my hands on my mat, outward, and went for the Chaturanga. Miraculously, the hand placement worked! I now can fully practice Chaturanga.
Maybe calling this post “Chaturanga Epic Fall” is a little harsh, but I do laugh at myself for not trying to move my hand position for the last ten years.
Readers, I would love to know your thoughts! Anyone have similar experiences?