The Shoulder - Anatomy & Physiology


The shoulder the most mobile joint in the body, yet the most unstable.

Our shoulders are comprised of 3 bones (humerus/arm bone, scapula/shoulder blade and clavicle/collar bone) and 4 joints (glenohumeral, acromioclavicular, scapulothoracic and sternoclavicular). The main joint is the glenohumeral joint where the arm bone rests into the shoulder blade, more like it sits like a golf ball on a tee. Because of the many different moving parts we have 360 degrees range of motion in the arm; however, that mobility may be comprised due to injury, repetitive motion, accident, poor posture or age. Because of this it is important to learn how to stabilize the the head of the humerus in the socket and the shoulder blade.

Recently, I returned from a 60 hour Yoga Medicine training focusing on the anatomy and physiology of the shoulder. We looked at the structure, the muscles and common injuries of the shoulder. In understanding the functions of the shoulder and all of the muscles that are involved in stabilizing the joints and creating movement, it allows me to properly assess and assist a student in working with pain and restrictions or limitations in the shoulders. This provides me with the tools to provide yoga based movements that will help a student to be more aware of how they move and what they can do to improve the strength and mobility in their yoga practice. 

It is important to me that my students be safe in their asana practice as to prevent injuries and also to help strengthen their practice. Yoga poses when linked with the breath inherently allow one to create more awareness of their body. This awareness allows one to notice what repetitive movements are healthy or those that need adaptation. 

If you want to explore what is happening in your shoulders so that you can move through your asana practice with more ease, please call me to discuss your options. 802-496-9204 or email me at