Crow Pose Tutorial for Shoulder and Core Strength


The scapula is a robust flat bone. “Flat bones provide protection and a place for broad muscles to join.” (Long, Raymond A. MD, FRSC, The key muscles of yoga, Bandha Yoga Publications LLC, 2006, p. 11)

This is where we find our rotator cuff muscles (subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and redon minor). The rotator cuff muscles are responsible for stabilizing the head of the humerus (arm bone) inside the shoulder (glenohumeral joint).

The shoulder, like the hip, is a ball joint that allows a lot of movement. It allows for even greater range of motion than the hip due to the shallow placement of the upper arm bone above the shoulder joint. This extra range of motion comes at a price: it leaves our shoulders vulnerable, with limited stability. That doesn’t mean “the game is over.” With awareness of this area and the activation of stability within other parts of the body, we can create a more balanced relationship between mobility and stability on the shoulder.

The scapula, on the other hand, is stabilized by the muscles of the anterior serratus and the rhomboids.

There are 4 main movements of the scapula:

  1. Retraction – by the actions of the trapezius, rhomboid, and large back muscles
  2. Protraction – through the actions of the anterior serrated, pectoralis major and pectoralis minor muscles
  3. Elevation – through the trapezius, the scapula lift, and the rhomboid muscles
  4. depression – by the force of gravity and the actions of the large dorsal muscles, anterior serratus, pectoralis major and minor, and trapezius.

Cowan PT, Mudreac A, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Back, Scapula. [Updated 2021 Aug 11]. A: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 gener-. Available at:

(There are other scapula movements, but in this tutorial we focus on protraction).

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