What do the shoulders and an orchestra have in common?
When I describe the elaborate structure of the shoulder joint to my patients and yoga students, I often reference an orchestra. I’m far from a musician, but I do appreciate music and the underlying details are intriguingly similar. The mechanics of the movement of the shoulder joint remind me of how all the musicians play their instruments in precise coordination to perform beautiful music. The shoulder has many players involved to create its own symphony of movements. Several joints connect for proper function, primarily where the upper arm bone (humerus) and shoulder blade (scapula) join together, called the glenohumeral joint.
There are several other joints as well that must harmonize together, including the clavicle and spine. This ball-and-socket joint structure has an enormous range of motion, making it incredibly vulnerable and susceptible to injury. Imagine a golf ball sitting on a tee. Pretty unstable, right? The importance of specific muscular support is critical to balance both stability and flexibility within the shoulder joint. How many muscles do you think are involved with reaching your arm over your head? It’s more than you think, at least 15! And they coordinate along with other instruments in this structure including: ligaments, fascia, tendons, and even the spine to create precise movement of the arm.
Have you heard of the rotator cuff? The rotator cuff has four specific muscles that provide the joint with stability and hold the humerus snug into the socket, while also rotating the arm in a circular motion. If one of these 15 muscles is out of tune (too tight, overly strong, weak, overstretched), the rhythm of the shoulder movement is compromised, the symphony sounds off key, and another musician may even compensate. It becomes unpleasant noise, and we just want to reduce the volume and return to what was once a sweet sounding symphony. How do we find harmony once again? The answer is simple: MOVEMENT~ properly stretching and strengthening the shoulder joint. Start by setting the foundation for your shoulder to accurately play by taking a deep breath in to straighten and lengthen your spine. With posture awareness, and mindful stretching and strengthening, you balance the joint to have both stability in order to do activities such as lifting, pushing or pulling items, and pressing to pop up on your surfboard, and mobility to move the arms for reaching behind you or overhead, as in the action of paddling or creating a flawless golf swing.
Like everything in life, there is a delicate balance within the shoulder joint and it requires fine-tuning to find perfect harmony.
Be the conductor of your shoulders and enjoy the music!
Find rhythm in your shoulders with this NEW sequence designed for everyone!