July 26, 2021

How Should You Move Your Arms To Start Sun Salutations

Should you move your arms “forward and up”, or “out and up” when you start sun salutations?

This is an interesting small detail which can have huge effects on our neck and shoulders. The shoulders are a region of the body where there are many muscles. It’s a very complex & busy area of the body,  and good health of the shoulders requires a very balanced & diverse approach of strength, mobility and stability. 

Both movements of forward & up, and out & up are valuable in themselves, but what is also important here is when we move, we do so with intention, presence and awareness.

The world of Yoga Anatomy is fascinating and so key to learn why we move the way we do  – and its something we will delve into for progressing our practice in Yoga Booster: Master Class series starting 21st July,  and we’ll take a full deep dive into for really expanding our knowledge & understanding as part of our next Yoga Unwrapped© Teacher Training from this October!

Head here for Yoga Booster Details & EARLY offer (ends 8th July) : www.heatheryoga.co.uk/yoga-booster-masterclass-series/

And to join us for a SPECIAL PREVIEW of our next Yoga Teacher Training this Saturday 3rd July before the doors official open: www.heatheryoga.co.uk/teacher-training/ 

So here’s what happens but in brief for here: When you raise your arms up to more than 90 degrees (shoulder height) the top of the shoulder blade couples with the head of the arm bone, and the shoulder blade moves out and upwards (called protraction and lateral rotation). It’s the natural rhythm of the shoulder joint.  

Depending on what happens in your body including muscle strength and tightness, shape of bones, and old/ new injuries- some people may feel more comfortable with arms forward and up, whilst others may prefer out and up. 

As we move the arms forwards and up, we are presented with more opportunity to strengthen the muscles on the backside of the shoulders and any engagement or activating of this region is a good thing especially as we don’t do so much of it in Vinyasa style Yoga  – so this could be a way you want to practice more if it feels OK in your body. But we also want to balance out this movement with other transitions and patterns which is why ‘out and up’ also has a place! 

When moving arms out and up, with the palms out can also work really well for some people if you experience discomfort/ or pinching in the front of the shoulder when arms go forward and up, and can feel more expansive in the chest and shoulders with the outward rotation of the arms in this option.

Which of these directions feels better in your body?  Explore both and do let us know 🙂