The other day while teaching, I made the distinction between the hand and the shoulder, and said something like, “Instead of focusing on your hand wrapping behind your back, focus on moving from the shoulder.” The pose was Side Angle with a Half Bind, like this:
I think I then went on to say something like, ” The shoulder is where the key action is happening.”
Afterwards, a student came up to me and said that was a pretty revealing statement for her. She said she usually focuses on the “end game” or getting to the final position of the pose rather than being in the pose. This helped her shift her focus to being “in” the pose and the point at which the key action is occurring.
We can also think of this as working from more from the center versus the extremities, the ends or the periphery. This is a common challenge for students as they have a zest for getting to the end point and the end points are sometimes easier to see. For instance, in a twisting pose, instead of focusing on the hand in the air, how about focusing on the twisting action? This applies to poses like Twisting Crescent:
I always say in this pose, “Keep your upper hand where you can see it, but see if you can twist a little bit more from the core!”
I always love teaching and cueing from foundation because honestly, without that, the concept I’m describing won’t make any impact if you’re not steady on your feet. But next to that, this concept can be helpful to share and can be a way to help students create the key action of the pose.
If you like topics like this, check out my online yoga anatomy courses. My most recent one, below, covers both practice and anatomy by giving you actual practice videos along with an anatomy lecture for each:
I’m also hosting a webinar on July 20th with anatomy based tips you can share with students. This free webinar is great for teachers and anyone that is interested in understanding how a little anatomy knowledge goes a long way in relieving aches and pains in the body. You can sign up here:
Enjoy your yoga!