JakeHere are some of sketchbook pages and my poses.
I had the same comment las semester and my mentor told me that you are working for animation, so you have to create that negative space by cheating the camera.
He basically (Matthew Russell) told me to rotate the torso, or the camera so the hands go away of the body the most possible. In "closed" poses the camera should be seeing a kind of "side" view, where the arms and hands are out of the body.
Try to put the pose in black and white, so the only visible thing is the silouette. Then ask somebody to look at it and tell them to describe the feeling of the character. If your pose reads, the person will understand it.
I browse my last semester assignments and found something similar to your pose. Check this image and how i rotate the torso and camera to avoid the arms inside the torso the most possible.
So play with the pose and trick the camera to achive the kind of poses you want.
This is the pose that has the silhouette problem. I haven't fixed him yet.
I had actually planned to post a lot more but blogger isn't playing nice. Maybe I'll try again latter. My "best" sketch pages are up there. So enjoy.