When you have limited range of motion in one or both shoulders, certain asanas become difficult. This is especially noticeable during binds. This week in class I spoke with Ben about my limited range of motion in my right shoulder. The muscle layers under and around my shoulder blade are extremely tight and tense. His advice for releasing this was by utilizing a long tubular exercise tool that I can roll the under arm area on releasing tension in the right side of the shoulder blade. In addition, specific deep tissue massage can be useful in addressing this type of muscle tension. Ben did emphasize that this particular muscular challenge will be a long, slow process.
During this same class time we practice ujjayi breathing technique which is a pranayama technique used during asana practice. I learned more about this technique that I have now practiced many times. Ujjayi is a diaphragmatic breath, which first fills the lower belly (activating the first and second chakras), rises to the lower rib cage (the third and fourth chakras), and finally moves into the upper chest and throat. A balancing and calming breath, it also increases internal body heat. It also increase circulation of prana in the body.
Prana, vital life in sanskrit, it enters the body through the breath and is sent to every cell in the circulatory system. Yoga and prana activate the parasympathetic nervous system in the body creating a more healthy, balanced self. Prana is also known as chi in Chinese culture.