Many active clients come to me with shoulder discomfort and real shoulder pain. It is a very common pain, very uncomfortable and causes sleepless nights. The shoulders bear the brunt of; heavy bags, extra weight, the effort of reaching, pulling and pushing excessively and real injuries. While working with clients through the modified yoga poses, we specifically target strained and strained shoulders for shoulder pain relief. The movements are slow and focused to stretch the ligaments and tendons of the shoulder. Shoulder rolls are a great way to start.

Many of the examples I will describe can be done standing or sitting. Roll both shoulders up and back several times in slow circles. This begins to relieve the stress on the shoulder. So we can focus on one shoulder at a time. Push one shoulder forward as if you were pushing a soft cloth forward. Do this about ten times or more. Then you can do the same with the other shoulder.

Before continuing to relieve shoulder pain and tension, imagine a long horizontal line, which runs directly across the top of the shoulders, and the line extends past the sides of the shoulder. I call this the “shoulder line”. To avoid re-injury to a sore shoulder, you should maintain arm movements as much as possible, under the shoulder line. For an example; You can start with your back and shoulders bent forward and your chin down. Then place your hands on the sides of your thighs with your elbows bent. I call this exercise “Angel Wings.” Your arms will look like open wings. If you are standing, keep your back and shoulders rounded, and your knees bent, as you slowly move your hands to the sides and lift them up. Imagine if your hands could touch the imaginary shoulder line. Then he places them back to rest on his thighs. This can be done slowly five to ten times, but it is really a personal choice.

If you are standing, interlock your fingers behind you and slide them toward your buttocks. This slide helps relieve shoulder pain. You can also modify this exercise by using a non-elastic strap or belt. Hold the strap against the width of your hips and slide your hands toward your buttocks. This lengthens the tendons in the shoulder.

If you are sitting in a chair with no arms, you will rotate your body on both sides of the chair, to clear the back of the chair and interlock your fingers, or use the strap as described. If you are sitting in a chair with arms, move your legs to the side and get closer to the edge of your seat, now you can extend your arms behind you to clear the arm of the chair. Next, you will lean your body forward and lift your arms slightly upward. To remind you that your arms are extended and interlocked behind you, or that you are holding the strap behind you and extending your arms up. This stretches the shoulders in a smooth and focused way.

If you are standing, continue the exercise to relieve shoulder pain; your arms are interlocked behind you, or you are using the strap on your hips, for modifications. You will circle your shoulders and back to a slight forward lean and bring your arms, which are behind you, slowly upward toward the ceiling or sky, while leaning your body forward. Bend your legs as you lean forward. Raise your arms behind you at least three times. If you are using the strap, the strap will cause leverage on your arms, to cause a greater stretch. These exercises relieve shoulder pain. It may not go away completely and right away. But it really works as a daily practice.

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