Rotation Consternation

Seems so simple, and for some of you out there, it probably actually IS simple. But for me, and for some others who were not blessed by the Godess of Arms Rotating in Shoulder Sockets with a good innate sense of direction, the following discoveries, which I have made in the past few weeks (thanks to Lori Brungard, sometimes known on here as “Madam”, seeing as she is the wife of “Sir”, who has been downloading her (extraordinarily immense) knowledge of the Primary Series to me and a few others in the past few weeks (in no particular order):

1. Purvatanasana (yes, it’s PurvA if you want to say it the way Guruji says it): The arms INTERNALLY rotate before the palms plant 12 inches behind you, fingers facing toward you. Yes, I know some of you know this already, or instinctively sense it. But if you’re like me, you feel your chest poking up and wonder – should I be externally rotating these arms to let my chest poke up further? The answer is: no.

2. Parshvotanasana: If you’re rotator-cuff challenged like me, you would probably imagine that it will be easier to get your hands into Reverse Namasakar by first broadening across your chest and externally rotating your arms as you bring them back behind you. But, sadly, you would be wrong, like me. Instead, INTERALLY rotate your arms in your shoulder sockets before bringing your arms behind you. Your palms will almost effortlessly find each other and your wrists will thank you to the ends of the earth.

3. Urdhva Dhanurasana: How many times have I heard, have I even SAID, “Lie on your back, bring your arms up overhead and plant your palms beside your ears”? It’s not wrong. But it leaves way too much room for interpretation in the mind of someone like me who has no innate sense of direction when it comes to the ole rotator cuffs. If you’re like me, and you merely throw your arms up overhead while lying on your back, you are very likely INTERALLY rotating your arms as you do so. Sure, you begin to externally rotate them a moment later as you bend your elbow and turn your palms down so that your fingers slide toward your shoulders. But to someone with a tendency towards tight shoulders and a chest that resists opening, this is tantamount to driving up down the West Side Highway in order to get to the Upper East Side. If you follow the West Side Highway downtown all the way to the tip of Manhattan, you will end eventually find yourself heading UP the East Drive (aka the FDR Drive) towards the Upper East Side. But BOY, did you take yourself out of your way. Instead, consciously rotate your arms externally, as if you were swan diving up into Ekam in Surya Namaskar A and maintain the external rotating even as you turn your wrists inward and plant your palms. If you have no idea what I am talking about, then take a belt, loop it around your triceps and press up into UD.

Now THAT’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Other pearls to come as I process them.



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