Give me a shoulder to relax on - Pose of the Week: Shoulder Stretches

This week's pose of the week comes from "Restorative Yoga for Life : A Relaxing Way to De-stress, Re-energice, and Find Balance" an excellent book that I highly recommend for the photos and descriptions! Here is a link to the book available for purchase on Amazon - perhaps you should add it to your Christmas List :)

"Shoulders are complex. The muscles, tendons, bones, sockets, and joints that make up the shoulder can easily become tight or injured with even the simplest movements that you make every day. This series of shoulder stretches helps to warm up and release tension in the shoulder. Whether you overdid it at the gym or you have tension in your neck or shoulders from stress, you can benefit from these stretches. Shoulder stretches even help with headaches! You can do this pose standing, seated on a blanket, or in a chair - whichever is more comfortable." 

Shoulder love.jpg

Come to a comfortable standing or sitting position to start this pose. Breathe deeply a few rounds, and move the spine with the breath. When you are ready you can use a sock, towel, or yoga strap for this pose.

1. Straighten your arms straight out in front of you. 

2. As you inhale, stretch your arms up overhead, as you exhale lower them back to #1. Repeat this with your breath a few times. 

3. and 4. Straighten your arms back to #1, inhale them above the head - leaving hips square exhale to the right, inhale center, exhale left, inhale center. Repeat several times. 

5. Release one end of the looped strap and bring your hands behind you. Hook yoour hand or thumb through and inhale. Move your arms straight back and up, away from your body as you exhale.  Repeat lowering in-between. 

6. and 7. Holding on to the strap with one hand lift arm into the air, bend arm and allow strap to rest down your back. Stretch other around the back so that the back of your hand is coming up your back, fingers toward the head - feel around for the strap and connect. Breathe here for at least 5 breaths before switching to the other side. 

Hoping that these postures give you a bit of relaxation for an area of the body that often harbors tension.