Loosening the grip on my shoulders

Photo: Bloom against a tropical backdrop
An Anusara teacher traveling all over the world

I had a great inversion workshop Jordan Bloom at Thrive Yoga today. Jordan is a gifted Anusara instructor who’s based in the DC area, but travels around the world. I can tell why he is such a popular teacher. He spent a lot of time dealing with the basic truths of alignment, building gradually so that when it came time to “invert,” it was relatively easy to take the plunge. For me the key was working on my shoulders. One of the first pose that he had us do was a deep lunge with arms stretched above the head. Jordan then had us repeated take our shoulders further back and then reach the arms higher and toward the back. Each time, I got a little deeper back bend. But then, Jordan came behind me and gently pulled my shoulders back even further. It was not a forced pressure, more like the touch used in breaking an egg shell. I could feel the knot of muscle between my shoulder blades dissolve. Once I knew where to focus my efforts, I was able to work on bringing my shoulders back in other poses, like downward-facing dog. The three-hours of the class went flying by.

Another adjustment that Jordan made was for me to widen the placement of my hands on the mat in poses like downward and updward dog, chataranga and other prone poses. He said that the middle of my hand should be even with the outside of my shoulder. That put the little finger of my hand of the edge of the mat and my ring finger running parallel to the edge. They don’t make yoga mats wide enough for many men. This adjustment also helped me broaden my shoulders.

Jordan will be coming back to thrive for a three-day workshop in February next year.