My shoulder (or why I came into yoga)

I used to be a basketball player in my school days and I loved it. But I found that sometimes, during an intense match, I would swing my arm to block a shot only to feel an intense pain in my shoulder as I felt my arm almost come out of the joint and clunkily go back into place. It would immobilize me for a few minutes as I lamely ran after my opponents while cradling my arm. It would take some time but I would continue playing.

In university, I joined the uni’s jiu jitsu club and their emphasis on arm locks and throws also did not do help to my shoulder. It was only then, that I went to get help for my shoulder as I felt that clunky moving in and out of ball and socket arm joint was not natural.

The thing that also prompted me to do so was also the realisation that my family members have always struggled with shoulder problems. I can remember my late grandmother’s shoulder pain which I would try to help massage, but would never go away. There’s a particularly vivid memory of a sinseh who put his foot on her armpit and tugged at her arm tp give her some relief. But what a violent way it was. My father too, started complaining of shoulder pain, to the point of being unable to lift his arm once. I couldn’t help but wonder if it is something hereditary that made us prone to shoulder problems. The best theory I could come up with was that perhaps how we carry ourselves, slouching with the inward rotation of the shoulder, as well as our preference to sleep on our sides contributed to the shoulder issues.

Hence, the major reason why I came into yoga is to find out if it could be a solution to shoulder issues. I found that it’s slow strength building movements helped me to be more aware of the complexities of the shoulder joint. The major issue I had  with competitive sport is the fast movement of the arm that caused the subluxation (partial dislocation) of my shoulder.

Yoga movements helped me become aware that it is not only my rotator cuff muscles that lack strength but also tightness in my pectorals and deltoid that contribute to my intermittent shoulder pain. I took a whole year to build enough strength in my upper body to be able to finally do chaturanga, albeit for short bursts. Now, I am trying to build up to reach my hands together in marichyasana. Being adjusted by Master Paalu into the pose, at first was harrowing, but when I held on to the pose and managed to hang on right and lengthen my spine and squeeze my shoulders down and feel that space between my ears and that shoulder, I felt a sense of deep relief in my shoulder that had been bothering me the week before. It was liberating and motivated me to work towards achieving the Marichyasana unaided.

Onwards and forwards.

Aini
200hr TTC (weekend)