Himalaya Yoga Valley Centre

International Yoga Training Centres  
Goa | Ireland | Portugal | Dharamsala

Yoga to open shoulders technique 7

6 Poses to Open your Shoulders

 

Importance of opening the shoulders

Working on opening the shoulders is something that can be overlooked in our asana practice. Having more open shoulders improves our overall posture, particularly if we spend our days working from a desk or hunched over a laptop. Flexibility in our shoulders is also an important factor in many backbends including Urdhva Dhanurasana (wheel pose) and when we come to standing dropbacks or kapotasana.

Although lots of common poses do naturally open the shoulders sometimes it pays to dedicate some time to really work on going deeper into opening the shoulders and chest. Here are six poses that you can incorporate into your practice that will open your shoulders in no time at all.

Warming up

Technique:
1. Sitting comfortably on a block so that there is no pressure in your knees and your spine is comfortably straight and long.

2. Lift your arms above your shoulders with your palms facing forward. From here keep reaching up towards the ceiling and breathe deeply.

Length: 5 – 10 deep breaths, repeat this twice

Tips & Modifications: You can place a folded blanket under your knees or the tops of your feet if it means you can sit more comfortably on the block.

 

Using the belt

Technique:
1. Still sitting comfortably on the block make a loop in your belt approximately the same length as the distance between your shoulders.

2. Bring both arms inside the belt, just below your wrists.

3. Start to pull your arms away from each other, creating tension in the belt.

4. While pulling the arms away from each other, lift your arms above your shoulders with your palms facing forward. Keep reaching up towards the ceiling and breathe deeply.

Length: 5 – 10 deep breaths, repeat this twice

Tips & Modifications: Keep the arms and elbows straight, your chin parallel to the ground. Keep your jaw relaxed.

Yoga to open shoulders technique 1

 

Using the belt and the wall

Technique:
1. Sitting on the block facing away from a wall.

2. Follow the same technique as before, sitting comfortably on the block with your arms in the belt loop. Make sure you’re still pulling your arms away from each other so there is tension in the belt.

3. This time as the arms come above the shoulders start to bring the backs of your hands to meet the wall. Be sure not to let your shoulders drop towards the wall, keep the chest open and body in an upright position.

4. Lift your chin and look up towards the ceiling, just enough to open the throat.

Length: 5 – 10 deep breaths, repeat this twice

Tips & Modifications: If the backs of the hands don’t come to the wall the first time just bring your arms as far over your shoulders as you can, hold for 5-10 deep breaths. Repeat this two or three times and then see if the backs of the hands can meet the wall.

Yoga to open shoulders technique 3

 

Gomukasana arms

Technique:
1. Sitting on the block, bring your left arm behind so that the hand comes between the shoulder blades with your palm facing away from the body.

2. Take the belt in your left hand and reach your left arm up towards the ceiling, then bend the left elbow and bring the left hand down towards the right hand.

3. Hold the belt in both hands and start to inch the hands along the belt towards each other. If the hands meet then, without the belt, you can lock the hands together.

4. Start to draw your right elbow up and over your shoulder as much as possible.

Length: Repeat this on both sides for 5 – 10 deep breaths.

Tips & Modifications: Keep your neck and jaw relaxed. If the hands don’t meet to begin with, work with the belt to open the shoulders, keep practising walking the hands closer together each time. Eventually, you will be able to interlock the fingers.

Yoga to open shoulders technique 4

 

Yoga Intensive in Goa
Immerse yourself in 8 days of advanced asana and yoga lectures
25th FEB - 3rd MAR 2020

Working with blocks

Technique:
1. Standing on your knees, tuck your toes under and sit back towards your heals, place two blocks in front of you.

2. Open your knees apart so they are slightly wider than your hips.

3. Place one palm of the hand on each block and start to walk or slide the blocks away from you until the arms are straight.

4. Let your heart centre sink towards the floor so your chest opens and see if you can place the chin gently down on the floor.

5. To come out from the pose first lift your head up, then place one elbow at a time back on the floor. Start to walk the hands back towards the body to come up.

Length: 5 – 15 deep breaths

Tips & Modifications: If you don’t have two blocks you can use books or anything that’s an even height to place your palms on.

Yoga to open shoulders technique 5

 

Using the wall to go deeper

Technique:
1. Come to standing facing a wall. Start with your toes about 12 inches from the wall.

2. Place your palms flat on the wall and, with your arms straight, walk the hands up the wall as far as you can go.

3. As you exhale let your heart centre sink towards the wall, letting your chest open. Keep pressing the hands into the wall and up to open the shoulders. Hold for 10 breaths.

4. When you’ve done this twice, walk the feet slightly further away from the wall and repeat the same technique so the shoulders and chest can open more.

Length: 5 – 10 deep breaths, repeat this three times

Tips & Modifications: This should be accessible to anyone, all you need is enough wall that you can walk your hands as far up as they will go.

Yoga to open shoulders technique 6

 


 

Practice: Arm Balances with Lalit

 

Practice: Spinal Twisting with Lalit

 

8 Day Yoga Intensive
GOA
25th FEB - 3rd MAR 2020