We will work consistently in classes over the summer on these three shoulder poses. I hope you will incorporate them into your daily routine at home. Our goal is to open the space between the front of the shoulders and the chest.
When we type, read, eat, and drive, we tend to lean forward, rounding the back. This over-stretches the muscles of the upper back and shortens the muscles of the chest. The shoulders roll forward and the inner arms turn inward. With these three poses, we will work toward correcting those imbalances. These poses come from an article by Doug Keller posted at Yoga International. You can read the entire article here, 3 Poses for Neck and Shoulder Pain. You might have to register with Yoga International to read, but it's free and simple.
· Purvottanasana (Upward Plank) Prep (the seated pose)
Sit on the floor, bend your knees so your feet are comfortably in front of you. Hands on the floor about 12-16 inches behind you, wider than your hips, fingers pointing forward. (Use a folded towel or blanket under the heel of the hand if you have wrist pain.)
- Inhale, draw your shoulders back, keep the elbows bent and upper arms parallel.
- Keep the hips on the floor and lift and open your upper chest. You should feel the stretch just below the collarbones.
- As you inhale, press into the index finger mounds, lift the chest, and straighten the arms
Standing Stretch with Arms Behind
Bend your elbows and interlace your fingers behind you. Separate the palms. Hands may rest on the upper buttocks.
- Keep the elbows bent. Square your shoulders so they are not drawing forward.
- Draw the shoulders back and the elbows toward each other.
- Don't try to straighten the arms, instead work to bring the upper arms parallel to one another.
- If this stretch is too intense, place a strap around the hands. See photo above.
- To increase the stretch, keep your chest lifted and draw your hands away from your back.
Standing Shoulder Stretch at the Wall
Stand next to a wall. Feet separated, but parallel. Place the fingertips of one hand on the wall at shoulder height with your arm fully extended. Rest the other hand on your hip.
- Tent the fingertips on the wall. Rotate your arm so the thumb points upward.
- Keep the shoulder aligned with your hand.
- Lift and open the chest with your breath, rolling your collarbones back.
- Twist from the waist, turn just your upper body, extending through your arm to the fingertips, as though your could press the wall away.