This got me thinking extension + flexion is the action we take when we lower from plank to chataranga. A common misalignment during this action is having the shoulders round forward which causes a hallowing in the chest and cause the trapezius muscles to fire. I call these neck muscles "headache muscles" because if I do chatarangas with my shoulders rolled forward and my trap muscles engaged it is a sure way for me to get a headache for the next day or two. However if I lengthen my side body, take the head of my arm bones back, and rotate the tips of my shoulder blades forward towards my heart then I am engaging my rhomboid muscles and the headache muscles are no longer engaged. Not only does this create more stability and builds strength for all future arm balances but it is incredibly therapeutic.
I watched this action as I was swinging. With just awareness and no effort I could feel the collapse happening in my shoulders and I recognized that the collapse is what made me feel unstable in the transitions of my swinging. I performed these actions and as I pushed and pulled, strengthened and bent my elbows it felt like I was doing chataranga tune ups (push ups). I felt more stable and I felt more connected to the heart. I breathed deeper recognizing although my life can be difficult and feel uncomfortable those difficulties are on the surface. Just like the ocean bellow the choppy waves crashing up and down on the surface at the bottom it is stable, unified, and full of peace.
Fun anatomy facts:
- The elbow joint is called ginglymus (hinge joint)
- Three bones form the elbow joint: the humerus (upper arm), radius (forearm on thumb side), and the paired ulna (forearm)
- Two bony prominence at tip of elbow: olecranon (a process (bump) on ulna, and the antecubital fossa (inner aspect of the elbow)