Yoga for Shoulders
Chances are, during some stage of your life, you may have experienced tightness, tension or pain in the shoulders. Our modern daily life, whether we are slouching over a computer in an office, standing or sitting for hours on end, lifting heavy things, repetitive movements, intense exercise or poor posture can all contribute to tightness in the shoulders.
Shoulders are built for mobility, not stability, like the hip joint, and over time these movements, or poor posture habits can lead to tightness, pain and sometimes injury.
How we hold ourselves physically can contribute to tightness and stiffness, but our emotions also play a role in whether our muscles are tight or relaxed. Anger, resistance, stress, fear and guilt are some of the emotions that if not dealt with and acknowledged, can build up in the body, causing blockages in our energy and circulation and lead to increased tightness, stiffness and soreness.
Our modern posture of hunching maybe stems from the cave man days when we needed to hunch forward to protect our vital organs from predators by closing off access to them. This probably was beneficial then, but now, with no immediate threat of sabatooth tigers, we have become lax in our posture, hunching while using computers and ipads, or while driving, sitting and standing.
We hold onto heavy emotions in the heart and try to protect ourselves from pain of heartbreak by closing off access to it. We can become weighted down with responsibilities, fear, guilt, stress, worry and other emotions causing us to feel like we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders.
Over use of the arms and shoulder from repetitive intense movements, or from lifting heavy things can cause the trapezius muscle, responsible for moving the arms, to become tight, affecting the movement of the shoulder joint.
Letting the shoulders constantly round forward leads to tightness in the chest muscles, especially the pectoralis minor, cause the shoulders to slouch forward even more, making the rhomboids, the muscles in between the shoulder blades, overstretch as they are constantly trying to pull the shoulders back into alignment, making the upper back feel tighter and strained.
Overtime, this poor posture, repetitive movements or overuse can results in, tightness, strain, stiffness, weak shoulders, rounding of the spine, discomfort, pain and a closed heart.
How Yoga Can Help
Yoga helps us to become more aware of our movements and when practiced consciously, with respect for the body, can help us to relieve muscle tension, lengthen tight muscles and build strength and flexibility in our muscles and joints.
Flexibility of the shoulder joint is increased by dissolving stress and increasing the flow of blood, oxygen and energy into the tight muscles of the chest, neck and shoulders.
Protect and keep the shoulder joint healthy by incorporating poses that stretch muscles and fasica and with poses that strengthen muscles, therefore balancing the natural mobility of the shoulder while improving its stability.
By building flexibility, especially in the front of our bodies, we can begin to realign the shoulders over the hips and lose the tightness, slouching and aches in the back and shoulders and begin to reopen the heart.
Relieve back and neck aches, build flexibility and strength in the shoulders and open the chest with these poses that are designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint, front of the body and thoracic spine.
Shoulder stretch sequence
Wall shoulder stretch
Start in a comfortable seated position and focus on your breath for you few minutes.
Aim for slow even breaths moving in and out nose to help calm the mind and help to release any tension in the body.
Stay in Savasana as long as you like letting the body and mind completely absorb the benefits of the practice.
First video with my voice! Go easy on me guys. Gotta start somewhere right!
Always practice in a way that feels good for your body. Move slowly and with awareness. Take your time and respect the process.