The Yoga Addiction

29: Looking Beyond The Rotator Cuff To Support Students With Rotator Cuff Injuries

The Yoga Addiction
29: Looking Beyond The Rotator Cuff To Support Students With Rotator Cuff Injuries

It can be so difficult to visualize a joint like the shoulder, much less anticipate how it moves when there is an injury. In this episode, we try our best to describe normal and abnormal shoulder movement and how we can support students in yoga by stabilizing the shoulder blade. Nat shares her and her husband's shoulder histories and describes their path to healing, of which yoga was a large part. We give tips and pointers on how to release and strengthen the scapula, as well as putting ourselves into a mindset of gratitude as we work with our injuries.




  • Nat's personal experience with shoulder injuries / pain (8:03)
  • Many rotator cuff injuries come from sports accidents, but in yoga, rotator cuff injuries come up from repetitive strain (13:35)
  • The anatomy of the rotator cuff (it's 4 muscles pulling to win the tug of war of centering the shoulder in the socket) (19:46)
  • The scapula is moving over the back of the rib cage without a real joint connecting it to the ribs (21:57)
  • Over-cueing in side plank and plank (25:51)
  • The down-dog cue that hurts Sandy's shoulder (30:20)
  • Do you actually know how big your shoulder blades are? (31:14)
  • Nat explains the mechanics of upward rotation of the scapula (33:58)
  • Too much tension in the shoulder muscles will inhibit upward rotation of the scapula and stress the rotator cuff (37:22)
  • Dried out fascia between the shoulder blades in constant forward shoulder posture (39:25)
  • Pain and injury of discs in the spine (42:04)
  • Nat shares Eric's story of shoulder injury (her hubby) (50:27)
  • Summary of this episode and what we can do in yoga to address shoulder stability (55:46)




Shoulder (glenohumeral) joint Video

Movements of the scapula Video

Scapula upward rotation Video

Episode 20: Does Yoga Increase Bone Density?

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Brought to you by Natalie Senger and Sandy Huen of The Yoga Addiction