The shoulders are one of the body regions notorious for holding tension and causing discomfort and pain. The reasons for shoulder pain are not hard to pinpoint. These include poor posture, sedentary lifestyles, and limited exercise regimes. The way we live our lives today encourages the tightness in our shoulders and chest regions that translates to shoulder aches.
Mental and emotional stress is also considered a causative factor when it comes to such bodily maladies, and yoga is considered a highly effective remedy for such instances. Today, however, we will simply approach the problem as a physical malady, exploring some of the most effective yet easily carried out Yoga practices for shoulder pain relief.
The Best Yoga Poses For Shoulder Pain
Seated Eagle Arms (Garudhasana)
Starting from a seated position, wrap your right arm underneath your left so that the left elbow is on top of the right one. Your palms should come together as though in prayer, with the fingers pointed straight up and the wrists straight.
Take in a deep breath as you bring your elbows up together, sending your forearms and hands up and away from your face. You should end up breathing into the back of your elbows. Simultaneously draw down your shoulders away from the ears.
You can choose to hold this pose or opt for the variation that sees you slowly fold forward. This is a deeper variation, where you may fold forward as far down as to reach the ground.
Whichever your preference, hold the pose for five long, steady breaths before coming back up and repeating the process with the other side of your body.
Lower yourself down onto your belly and set your left arm out at a ninety-degree angle to your body. Your palm should be spread out flat facing the ground.
Pressing down steadily on the mat with your right hand, roll your body over so that you rest on the left side of it. Your left shoulder will be pressing into the mat, and your ear will be touching the mat as well.
You may choose to hold this pose but the option to push forth into a deeper Chest Opener is available. You may do this by going on to bend your left knee, placing your foot onto the mat right behind the left leg. This will allow you to roll over more onto the left.
Now, hold the pose you’re comfortable with for five deep, steady breaths before releasing the pose and rolling back onto your belly. Repeat for the other side of your body.
Bridge (Setu Bandhasana)
Lay down on your back. Bend your knees so that your feet rest on the ground firmly, leaving a space the width of your hips. Your heels should be close enough to your hip that the tips of your fingers will brush against them.
Take in a deep breath s you raise your hips and your back off the ground. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as they rest beneath your torso and interlace your fingers under your hips.
Maintain the pressure on your shoulders and feet as you continue raising your hips higher. Your gaze should be directed straight upwards. Bring your chin away from your chest. Hold your pose for five deep, steady breaths.
Thread the Needle
Get onto your hands and knees, placing your left hand onto the middle of the mat beneath your chest. Take in a deep breath as you stretch your right arm to your right side and exhale as you bring id down and under you to pass under your left arm. Your right arm should keep extended.
Its length represents your thread and the opening underneath your left arm is the eye of the needle, which is why the pose is named thus.
Take five deep and steady breaths before releasing the pose and switching to the other side.
Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)
First variation: Starting from a standing position, take your left foot and move it back about three feet, turning both your feet inwards so that you are in a slightly pigeon-toed stance. Shift your weight to the outside of your feet so that your legs are straightened.
Wrap your arms around your back, interlacing your fingers, then take a deep breath and tilt slightly back. As you exhale, lean forward at the hips to lengthen your spine. Continue to lower your head toward the ground as you raise your arm (still interlaced) above you towards the ceiling.
Try to keep your legs straight as you do this, only bending the knees a little bit if you find it uncomfortable. Hold this position and take five deep, steady breaths. Exhale as you bring yourself back up to a standing position.
Second variation: Should you wish to attempt a slightly deeper variation, take both your palms and place them together in a prayer position, but behind your back rather than in front of you.
Take in a deep breath as you tilt back slightly to lengthen your back then exhale as you fold forward at the waist. Keep your shoulder blades close together and sloping away from your ears. Hold the pose for five deep, steady breaths then inhale as you bring yourself back up to a standing position.
Third variation: A more advanced variation is available for those willing and able to execute it. Raise the right arm over your head and bring the forearm down to your back. Bend your left arm so that it comes down and up behind you to reach the right hand. Try and hold your hands together this way. Should this be difficult, use a short strap or length of cloth to make the connection. Continue with the pose normally from here.
Before you begin
Yoga should never be a painful experience when done correctly. Listen to your body as you carry out these poses and take deep, steady breaths throughout. Should you experience any discomfort as you practice these poses, stop immediately. Your health and well-being is the priority here, so do not begin new exercise or Yoga regimens in case you have been suffering from extreme pain or if the pain has persisted for long periods.