Updated: May 12, 2021
Hello friends! How was your Labor Day weekend? I do not think we could ask for better weather in The District right now! Fall is right around the corner : ) Today I am going to teach you a little bit about a muscle we hear very little about in yoga, but plays a major role in your practice if you love to invert: the teres major!
The teres major is called "the lat's little helper" because it assists the latissimus dorsi, which is a large, thick muscle that connects from the pelvis to the upper arm bone (humerus) to perform medial rotation of the torso and works with the teres muscles to offer medial (internal) rotation, adduction and extension of the humerus + stabilizes the shoulder joint. The teres major + minor do not help us move into or out of poses, but they do contract to help stabilize the shoulder when we are in poses where we support our bodyweight with our hands or forearms - like headstand, forearm stand and handstand!
This can be a difficult area to get into as a massage therapist! I find that individuals with a more vigorous yoga practice, like Ashtanga yoga :) , tend to have complaints of this area being tender or becoming a trigger point.
One way you can work this out yourself with a yoga block :
- Place the block on the medium horizontal side
- Assume the Burt Reynolds side-lying position with your back leg bent for leverage
- Place the block on the bottom half of your arm pit
- Roll back and forward, slowly, and if you find a tender spot, you can linger there for a few deep breaths
Here is a simple video if ya need it: