This is an intermediate posture and is a good all-rounder that will benefit students who are working towards headstands. Dolphin is excellent for developing the upper body, and its other benefits include toning the arms, opening the shoulders, improving hip flexibility and strengthening the abdominals and back muscles.
Dolphin pose requires a reasonable amount of flexibility, but once in the full posture adjustments can be made by bending the knees to allow for tight hamstring muscles. As with last month’s Padangusthasana pose, the Dolphin will work towards lengthening the hamstrings and calf muscles.
A combination of full body muscles are used in accessing the Dolphin pose, but we will cover the primary group. At first the focus of the pose is placed upon the forearms being flat on the floor, which will engage the Tricep Brachi; which originates from the humerus and the scapula and then inserts into the Ulna below the elbow. Pushing yourself backwards into the legs so that the hips become flexed at 90 degrees, will engage shoulders and the upper back. The nature of this posture means that the muscles which help to hold the scapula in position, will be working hard, these muscles are:
• TERES MINOR: this originates on the outside of the scapula and inserts into the top of the humerus at the back of the shoulder capsule.
• TERES MAJOR: attaches from the lateral scapula and inserts into the humerus just below the shoulder joint.
• LATISSIMUS DORSI: originates from the pelvis and spine and inserts into the humerus.
• INFRASPINATUS: this covers the middle section of the scapula and inserts into the top of the shoulder joint capsule.
• SUBSCAPULARIS: which lies hidden on the inside surface of the scapula sandwiched between the ribs. This inserts into the humerus and shoulder capsule.
• THE PECTORALIS MAJOR: attaches from the clavicle and sternum and inserts into the humerus.
• SERRATUS ANTERIOR: the main function is to draw the scapula forward against the ribs. This originates from the upper ribs and inserts into the scapula.