As you read this, pay attention to where your shoulders are. It’s likely that they are hunching forward, shrugging into your ears, or both. Although the shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body, due to daytime restrictions on motion, shoulders frequently lock up. Your shoulders being rounded over your phone and computer is prevalent in our technology-obsessed age.
Introducing shoulder openers. Yoga positions that open the shoulders can assist in releasing tension that contributes to poor posture, neck pain, and breathing difficulties. Consider this: Bending over makes it more difficult to adequately fill your lungs with air and breathe deeply because it places additional pressure and weight on your lungs and diaphragm.
What is the best way to relax your shoulders without appearing like the Hunchback of Notre Dame? Maya McKenna, a senior teacher at YogaWorks in Los Angeles, California, and a qualified yoga instructor, offers these six expert-recommended yoga shoulder stretches. To feel the stretch, hold each stance for three to five breaths.
Prayer in reverse (Paschim Namaskarasana)
When you’ve spent all day hunched over your desk, this yoga pose is the best shoulder stretch. This stretch is McKenna’s favourite because it’s fantastic for opening up spaces where you’ve drawn yourself in.
How to: Before beginning this position, roll your shoulders back a few times to make sure they are not quite up by your ears. Then make a prayer position by placing your palms together behind your back. According to McKenna, if your hands don’t come together all the way, you can always just touch your knuckles together or tie them with a yoga strap, resistance band, or towel.
Twist in Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana)
Similar to other inversions, this yoga practise elevates your heart above your head to improve blood flow to the upper body. The finest part of this pose, according to McKenna, is that it allows you to deepen the stretch because you’re using the earth as leverage.
How to: While bending over your legs while standing with your feet hip-distance apart, stretch your spine. While reaching the other arm toward the ceiling and rotating your torso to face the same direction as the hand in the air, press one palm firmly against the ground. On the opposite side, repeat.
Falcon Arms (Garudasana)
As shown in this yoga stance, a bind is sometimes the best way to relax. According to McKenna, eagle arms are a terrific method to detach your shoulders from your ears. After spending a lot of the day in one posture, it also helps to enhance range of motion and flexibility in your joints.
Straighten both of your arms in front of you. After that, encircle your arms so that the backs of your hands are in contact. As you appreciate the openness across the front of your body, make sure to glide your shoulder blades down your back.
Assisted Fish (Matsyasana)
We guarantee that after trying this stretch, you’ll wonder how you ever survived without it. Grab two yoga blocks to begin. If you don’t, books make a good stand-in.
How to: Position one block behind your shoulder blades on its long side (or bra strap line). Lay your head on top of the other one while it is at its tallest point. Then, as you feel your shoulder and chest opening, grab each elbow with the opposite hand and sink into this restorative pose.
Cameleon Pose (Ustrasana)
McKenna adds that for more experienced yogis, you can backstroke your arms as you reach for your heels, but that most of us have relatively tight shoulders and will find this difficult.
How to: Kneel down, keeping your quads parallel to the ground and your knees about hip-width apart. From here, stretch your spine and bend backwards as if you were leaning over a giant beach ball by placing your hands on your lower back with your fingers pointing down.
Animal Face Arms (Gomukhasana)
Unless you are certain that you are exceptionally flexible, it would be a good idea to grab a towel or strap if you have one available for this exercise.
How to: Raise your right arm until it is parallel to your spine, then point your hand with your fingers pointing down toward your shoulder. Stretch your left arm toward the right arm while enclosing it behind your back. Clasp your right and left fingers together if your hands come together without a support. If not, hold a towel or strap in each hand to close the gap between them.