OPEN UP WITH THESE SHOULDER LOVIN' YOGA POSES
ever since I decided to embark on the journey of getting my first unassisted muscle up, my shoulders definitely are being put through the ringer. I've been practicing the actual movement two to three times a week along with doing accessory exercises and drills to build strength in the muscles that are key in being able to reach my goal.
and while it's been going well (I've been able to go down in how much band assistance I'm using already) I know that in order to keep this progress going forward I have to make sure that I take care of my shoulders so they can take care of me. this inspired me to share with you yoga poses that can help keep shoulders healthy.
now, you don't have to be working on any fitness goal(s) in order for these to help you too.😉
I encourage you to use them whenever your shoulders are feelin' tight after a long day, if you feel wound up from sitting at a desk for hours on end, or if you just want to help relieve some of those aches and pains we tend to carry in our shoulders and upper back due to stress.
gentle chest opener
a tight chest is one of the precursors to forward shoulders and rounded upper back so you have to keep it open to help your posture and maintain natural shoulder function, and this opener is an awesome way to create space through your pecs and the front of your shoulder.
start by laying on your stomach, extend your right arm out to the side of you and push through your left hand to rotate your body up and over. you can stay here if this is enough or, if your shoulders are stacked on top of one another, you can deepen the stretch by either wrapping your left arm around your lower back for the half bind, or clasping your hands together for the full bind, if it's available to you.
take 5-7 deep breaths before gently unwinding and switching sides.
puppy pose with prayer hands
I love this pose because of how much it targets; everything from your triceps, lats, upper back, and even through your neck.
start in child's pose. extend your arms in front of you and slide forward until your hips lift. rest on your forehead, or your chin if it's available to you, and let your chest sink towards the ground. from here, bring your hands to prayer and raise them above your head.
stay here for 5-7 deep breaths.
thread the needle
this pose is a great way to begin creating space in between your shoulder blades.
start on all fours and thread your right arm underneath your left with your palm up and rest your head and shoulder on the ground. gently push your right shoulder into the ground until you feel the stretch in your right shoulder blade. you can stay here or deepen the stretch by extending your left arm above your head and pressing into your left hand, or wrapping your left arm around your back for the half bind. make sure your shoulders are stacked and stay open through your chest.
stay here for 5-7 deep breaths before gently unwinding and switching sides.
now, while thread the needle was a place to start to open in between your shoulder blades, eagle arms is a deeper way to do so.
start sitting tall with a long spine, and bind your arms by bringing your right arm up and stacking your left elbow inside the crease of your right. bring your palms to touch. as you inhale lift your arms up towards the ceiling, and as you exhale bring them back down.
repeat for 5 rounds of breath before unwinding and switching sides.
cow face hands with strap
this pose is definitely a humbling experience if you lack shoulder mobility like me. LOL!
essentially the goal is to clasp your hands behind your back, but since I'm far from reaching that point I use a strap to help.
start sitting tall. bring your right arm up and bend at the elbow so that your palm is in between your shoulder blades. If you need a strap, like I do, make sure it's already in your hand. bring your left arm behind you at your lower back and bend at the elbow so that your hand is at your mid back with your palm facing away from you. If it's available to you clasp your hands and breathe deeply for 5 breaths maintaining a long spine. If you have a strap, take a hold of the strap with your left hand and breathe. as you begin to open up you'll notice your hands will begin getting closer together. gently release and repeat on the other side.
wide legged forward fold with interlaced hands (use strap if needed)
although this pose opens through your chest, the forward fold adds an extra component by stretching your hamstrings, groin, and lower back.
take a wide stance (wider than shoulder width) with your toes pointing straight forward. Interlace your hands behind your back and hinge forward at your hips with a flat back. allow your arms to fall forward towards your head and breathe deeply into your shoulders and chest. If you find it difficult to keep your hands clasped when you bow forward take a hold of a strap. take 5-7 deep breaths before you gently bring your hands back to your lower back and stand up.
thanks so much for reading today and I hope these poses help bring some freedom back to your shoulders.
feel free to hit me up if you have any questions.💕