Can you recommend any adaptations to make dolphin more accessible for those of us who have tight shoulders? The typical instructions are to 1) hold a block between the hands, 2) press down on the thumb side of the hands, 3) squeeze the elbows together, and then 4) lift the knees and hips. It takes me intense effort to do the first three, and getting into that position makes it excruciatingly difficult to lift my knees even a few inches off the mat. I usually collapse before I get my butt up high.
I don’t think it’s a strength issue because I can hold a low plank comfortably for several minutes, and with some effort I can hold a bound headstand with little or no weight on my head. I’ve been working on shoulder mobility several times a week for more than a year, but there hasn’t been significant progress. (At least it’s not getting worse ) Probably related, I find it difficult to hold down dog for any length of time because my shoulders aren’t happy when they’re externally rotated—I’m much more comfortable and relaxed in high plank than in down dog.
Perhaps my shoulders will loosen up some day, but for now I’m looking for an alternative or adaptation I can do when a teacher instructs us to go into dolphin pose. Suggestions?