Episode 86: Q&A W/ Jason: Down Dog Strategies, Lower Rib Flare, & The Problem with the “Tuck Under” Cue

Jason Crandell Yoga Podcast | Downward Facing Dog | Yogaland Podcast

Jason Crandell joins me on the podcast this week to answer your questions. We cover a lot of ground in this short episode including:

* Strategies for Down Dog — How to make it easier to step forward, what to do when a student can’t straighten their arms

* Lower Rib Flare — Why it’s important to think of core length, not just core strength

* The Cue to ‘Tuck Your Tailbone Under — Is it dangerous? Appropriate? What’s the deal. Please.

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Avoid Rib Flare in Forearm Balance

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  1. Love the podcast! Wanted to throw out another idea for the teacher whose student can’t put the backs of his hands down on the mat. I’ve got a congenital condition where my forearm bones are fused at the elbow joint. So if I were to do the standard savasana pose, on my left side, my hand would never hit the mat. But I also know that because of my condition, placing my hands on my chest isn’t great for some of the muscles in my pecs & shoulders. So I go for cactus arms, which allows me to open my chest & relax my hands down without strain. Probably not the student’s problem, but I hope it’s a helpful option.

    • This is so interesting. May I ask, Ruth, how did you figure out that you had this condition? I’m just wondering if there’s a way for people to know this. Maybe if it’s painful or impossible to place hands on belly/chest?

      • Ack! I wish I had seen this earlier! I was diagnosed as a child. I grew up in a Catholic family & when I was old enough to receive first communion, at the time it was a big deal that one could receive it with one’s hands instead of directly on the tongue. That’s the first time my parents noticed that I could not fully supinate both hands.

        It’s a rare condition & can be quite variable. But the overarching trait is that we can’t change the position of our hands without involving the entire shoulder. My arms both have the condition in unique ways – my right arm looks more ‘normal’ than the left. Some people are only affected in 1 arm. Others are stuck with a palm down or palm up position.

        When I mentioned not placing my left hand on my chest, I don’t experience pain, but I had a PT session where I learned that when I do place my left hand on my abdomen, it causes one of my smaller muscles between the shoulder & the pec to engage where in most people it does not. I was told to avoid that hand placement for that reason.

        One yoga related way for people to tell if they may have the condition is mudras.

        When I was in my 200 hour teacher training we had an afternoon session on mudras. It was interesting, but as you can imagine the presenter talked a bit about opening ones channels through the receiving gesture of upturned palms. I don’t experience that, nor will I. It makes me a natural skeptic of any mudra-related health claims.

        I sometimes struggle with knowing what ‘normal’ arms & shoulders feel like to students when I’m trying to teach. But one thing I don’t struggle with is insisting that a student look a certain way in a pose. I’ve had my arms pulled on to get in the ‘correct’ position too many times. Those experiences help remind me that what is hard for me may be easy to others & my easy is someone else’s hard.

  2. can we see the picture of the clock exercise

  3. my huband has old elbow injuries from college wrestling and he can’t straighten his elbows either. Trying to work to achieve straighter arms would be counter productive in his body.


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