Dealing with shoulder discomfort or pain can be difficult, especially when you spend long hours sitting down or hunched over your computer.
Below are a few yoga postures that will help unwind tension in your shoulders, upper back, and chest.
Yoga poses for shoulder pain
Gomukhasana or Cowface Pose helps release the front shoulders and the triceps.
Extend your legs forward, cross one leg over the opposite thigh, and take the foot or the heel close to your outer hip. Bend the bottom leg so that the heel of its foot comes next to other hip. If this is too hard for you, simply sit in a simple cross-legged position.
Reach one arm up. Rotate the arm from the shoulder joint, so that the palm faces the back of your room or your space. Take the hand onto your upper back. Sweep your other hand behind you, and catch hold of your top hand’s fingertips. For tighter shoulders, you may also hold onto a yoga strap, towel, or a belt.
Sit tall, lengthen the spine, and open the chest. Stay here for a few breaths, before switching to the other side.
2. Garudasana Arms
Garudasana or Eagle Pose is usually performed standing up. However, if your intention is to simply release the shoulders, you may simple practice it sitting down.
In any seated position, take your elbows in front of your shoulders and cross one arms over the other. Press the forearms and the backs of your hands together. If you have the mobility, you may also clasp your fingers together. Lift your elbows to the height of your chin, and slightly round the spine. Switch to the other side.
Eagle Pose (or in this case, Eagle Arms) is great for stretching out the backs of the shoulders, as well as the upper back muscles.
Having tight shoulders can also mean having a tight chest. Melting Heart targets both the shoulders and the chest, and brings your spine into a gentle and relaxing backbend.
Come onto hands and knees. Walk your hands forward. Then, press the chest and the ribs down towards the mat. Press your sitting bones up towards the sky (as if you were in downward facing dog). Relax your forehead onto the floor.
If you have sensitive knees, you may pad your knees with a blanket or towel. If it’s very hard for your chest to touch the mat, you may take a small cushion underneath your ribs for more support.
4. Ardha Matsyendrasana
Twists help release the thoracic region of the spine, which runs from the ribcage up towards the shoulders. They also help massage the internal organs and calm the nervous system.
Bring one leg close towards your chest, and extend the other one forward. Take one behind you, perching onto the fingertips. Hug the bent leg with your other arm, or hook the elbow outside of your knee.
Inhale, lengthen the spine and bring the crown of the head up towards the ceiling. Exhale, rotate the ribcage and the back shoulder closer to the back of the room or your space. Encourage a gentle twist in the neck, by gazing over the back shoulder. Stay here for a few breaths, then release. Perform the twist on the other side.
Do these yoga poses for shoulder pain regularly or when you feel like you need some release.