The 7 Best Shoulder Opening Yoga Poses

The shoulders are one of the most common areas of the body to hold stress. Many of us who sit at desks all day or spend lots of hours behind the wheel commuting know that our shoulders become tense and need attention.

This tension can be released by doing yoga poses that target the shoulders. Stress and tension are not limited to the shoulders. Your body is a complex system that can take some time to unravel. Try starting with your shoulders and then moving onto this free 30-Day Yoga Challenge¬†for the rest of the body. Regular practice will improve your body’s ability to move fluidly.

Here are 7 of the best shoulder-opening yoga poses to help you release tension.

Child Pose

This pose provides a great passive relief to many parts of the body, particularly the shoulders. You can relax your shoulders by folding your legs over and reaching out your arms.

Make sure your shoulders don’t move up to your ears. Instead, please encourage them to move downwards. Hold the pose for about a minute to let your muscles get a deep stretch.

Child Pose with Block

After the opening that Child’s Pose allows, I grab a block and take it to the next step. Place the block on top of your mat and walk your hands forward so that your hips are raised off your heels. Put your elbows down on the block and raise your hands in prayer to the ceiling.

Start by lowering your head to your forearms. Now, sink your hips slightly back. Only go as far as your body feels comfortable. You will feel a strong stretch in your shoulders.

Rabbit Pose

Place the crown of the head on the mat. Grab the tops of your feet with your hands. Pull your feet simultaneously while pushing your shoulder blades inward. This will open up the shoulder blades.

Needle Threading

Return to your hands and knees. Bring your right shoulder to the mat and thread your left arm under your right arm. Hips should remain lifted. Reach your left hand backward towards your right hip if you want to work on the left shoulder simultaneously. This pose should be repeated on both sides.

Eagle Arms

You can do this pose either by standing up in Eagle Pose or sitting on the mat. Wrap your hands around the elbows so that they meet. Try to keep the shoulders away from your ears while raising your elbows for a deeper stretch.

Cow Face Arms

You can either continue in the Easy pose, with the legs crossed or stack your knees to create a Cow Face. Place your palm between the shoulder blades with your right hand. Try to grab the right fingers with the left hand.

Grab hold of the fabric on your shirt or use a belt if the hands are not touching. Practice on both sides.

Hands over head in a wide-legged forward bend

You can either stand with your feet together or knees bent. Interlace your fingers behind your back. As you hinge your upper body forward, bring your hand over your head away from your body. This pose can be very intense.

Listen to your body as you move through these poses. Be aware of any injuries or sensitivities. It is important not to push the shoulders too hard.

It’s not necessary to perform all these poses at once, but I would recommend choosing two or three in the morning or evening to reduce the stress that builds up in your shoulders.

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