3 Tips to Tone Your Shoulders in Down Dog

I had a massage therapist ask me if I do a lot of weight training for my arms. I answered, if by weight training, you mean yoga, then yes!

You don’t need to be lifting heavy weights to get toned looking arms. By doing power yoga, you can get the toned look you want of your arms. Downward Facing Dog is a great starting point to learn how to activate your muscles.  If you start really engaging your arms in this pose, it will no longer be a “resting pose” for you. Although, my husband says it is never a resting pose for him – mostly due to his tight hamstrings!

Here are three tips to tone your arms and maintain the stability of your shoulder joint in downward facing dog:

  1. Spin your biceps so they begin to face the front of your mat – they won’t necessarily face all the way forward – but you are looking to create this action. This movement causes external rotation of your humerus (arm bone) and engages your rotator cuff muscles. It allows for space in the shoulder joint and decreases the possibility for impingement through your shoulder.
  2. Press your thumb and first finger into your mat. This creates pronation through your forearm (your forearm will move in the opposite direction of your upper arm) and allows for more stability throughout your wrists and arms.
  3. Draw your shoulder blades down your back and towards each other. Again, this gives space within your shoulder joint.

This weekend I am running a shoulder shape up workshop. We will go through a flow focusing on really engaging the muscles of your shoulder to give you a stronger and safer practice. You can sign up here for the workshop! Hope to see you on your mat trying these three tips!

Shine On,


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