Today’s Feedback Friday is featuring Janick.
She is a LYT-certified teacher and has an amazingly strong practice but I offered a few tips for her that I see as habitual pain points for other students as well.
In LYT yoga, we reference the “triple S”, which is the alignment of the skull, scapulae, and sacrum, an alignment that is key for creating a neutral pelvis and spine for more optimal movement. Janick has some residual tension in her neck, indicating she has had struggles with a forward head position.
Almost everyone I work with has a similar struggle because the forward head posture is its own epidemic in our modern-day lifestyle! The forward head occurs when the skull slides forward of its resting position on the first cervical vertebra, leading to increased tension in the neck muscles and often summoning the pelvis to tip forward as well. As the head protrudes forward of its optimal alignment, the shoulders will often round, but when the arms come overhead, the ribs tend to thrust forward to aid the movement of the shoulders.
In Janick’s demo, I spotted that her head is a bit off-center with increased tightness in the neck and the impulse to thrust her ribs, even though she manages this old pattern quite well. It shows up in her modified side plank, where there seems to be a struggle between head placement and scapulae position on the thorax, resulting in the “look” of a hyperextended elbow in the bottom arm. My suggestion was to hold her head like she is holding an apple between the chin and throat to help maintain a neutral neck position.
In Janick’s handstand, her ribs are slightly protruding due to this pattern of over lifting the head and chin and pushing the ribs forward. This residual movement pattern makes the ribs want to go forward with the head.
In dolphin pose, I recommended holding the front ribs in to more effectively transition into her forearm balance, while actively drawing the bottom of the ribs down to the pelvis. This control of the thoracopelvic cylinder will come with more practice and extra attention to the neck position.
These small tweaks will help her garner more stability in the center. For Janick and everyone: remember how important the alignment of the “Triple S” is in all of the movement as well as in daily life and work on getting the skull balanced on the top of the spine!