Shoulders are an area that we often store a lot of tension. Our shoulders, along with our hips are pretty much the most complicated anatomical places in the body. There is a lot going on there, and a lot of places stuff can get stuck or tight.
Very often if we are feeling tired, stressed or sad our shoulders will creep forward to protect our heart. Of course looking at our phones / laptops / hunching at desks and kicking back on the sofa doesn’t help either.
Yoga is a wonderful way to help release some of that. Here are some of my favourite yoga poses to release tension in the shoulders and they feel pretty good if you’ve got anything going on there, or just want to stretch out after a busy day.
From sitting on kneeling, bring both arms out in front of you. Cross your right arm over your left. Bend both elbows and draw both hand up towards your face. The hands can either come together back to back or maybe they will wrap around palm to palm – it doesn’t really matter. Think about drawing the arms up, and the chest up to the arms, rather than collapsing the arms down to the chest. Hold here for a few breaths then swap sides.
Thread the needle
From a tabletop position bring your right arm off the floor and straight out to the side of you. As you exhale thread your right hand under your body between your left leg and left arm. Let the arm guide the rest of your body in that direction so that your temple comes to rest on the floor. You can either stay here or bring the left arm up to the sky and wrap it behind you, letting it rest on either your low back or upper right thigh. Stay for a few breaths, then unfurl and come to the other side.
Child’s pose with fin
From a tabletop position, let your body weight come back toward your feet. Leaving arms outstretched in front of you, take a rock from side to side. You can either stay here in extended child’s pose or bring your hands together on top of your head so they make a fin sticking up in the air – totally yummy on the shoulders. If your hips are tight try the same thing with your big toes touching and your knees out wide.
Crocodile pose with shoulder release
Okay I actually don’t know what this pose is called but it is an incredible shoulder stretch. Lie on your belly and bring your right arm out the the side of you on the floor. Bend your left foot up to the sky and start to roll to the right, coming up on to your side. The left foot might come to the floor behind you, and you can use your left hand to help you stay steady. It can be really nice to do this pose before bed to help release and relax the shoulders. Come back to your front and repeat on the other side.
Half lord of the fishes with elbow on knee
From a sitting position, stretch out your left leg. Cross your right leg over your left, so the foot comes flat on the floor outside the left knee or thigh. You can stay here with the legs or bend the left knee so the foot comes up behind the right buttock. Think about rooting through the sit bones and making sure the right foot is flat on the ground. Inhale and as you exhale twist to the right, hugging your right knee with the left arm, the right arm comes behind you on the ground. Inhale to sit up nice and tall and then release the left hand, and bring the left elbow in front of the right knee with the palm open to the side. Stay here for a few breaths then unfurl and repeat on the other side.
Don’t forget to BREATHE in every pose… Let me know how you get on and in the mean time I hope the weigh upon your shoulders is a little lighter xx