The following is a short sequence of poses that promote both greater shoulder stability and mobility.
When practicing any of these yoga poses or sequences follow the tips below:
- Have a focus on your breath to promote mindfulness
- Your breath should always lead your movement
- Never move into a pose that creates pain
- Allow your body to relax into the stretch rather than forcing yourself into a pose or over stretching
- Never lock out your joints
Start in Child’s Pose with the shoulders relaxed.
For eight breaths bring your attention to your breath, notice the depth of your inhales and length of your exhales.
Take the next 4 breaths to do a body scan. Notice where there is any tension or discomfort in the body. This is an exercise to develop greater body awareness.
For the next 8 breaths perform a 3-dimensional breath, which means as you breath in feel the front of the body, the sides of the body and the back of the body expand.
On an inhale come into Table Top position.
Exhale feeling the core subtly engage. Inhale internally rotate the shoulders, exhale externally rotate the shoulders. Repeat 4 times.
Push back into Child’s Pose.
This time the pose will be active. Reach your finger tips out in front of you feeling a stretch through both sides of the back. As you stretch forward press your finger tips into the ground and without moving your hands feel like you are pulling the ground towards your armpits.
Stay in Child’s Pose for 4 breaths.
Inhale come into Table Top.
Exhale and on an inhale bring one arm up and off the mat. On the next inhale bring the arm forward by moving through the shoulder blade (protraction). On the exhale bring the arm back towards the body once again through movement in the shoulder blade (retraction).
This movement should come from the lower half of the shoulder blade (rhomboids and lower traps).
Do this movement 4 times with each arm.
Come back into Table Top and on an exhale push back into Child’s Pose.
Inhale and walk your fingers to the right feeling a strong stretch in the left side of the body. Press your finger tips into the ground and without moving your hands feel like you are pulling the ground towards your armpits.
Stay in this pose for 4 breaths.
Inhale come back to center with the hands. Exhale and on an inhale come back into Table Top.
Inhale bring your right arm up and forward and your left leg up and back. Exhale bring your knee towards your elbow and elbow towards your knee rounding your back and spreading your shoulder blades. Inhale extend the arm and leg.
This is Flying Sunbird. Do this movement 4 times on each side.
Come back into Table Top exhale and push back into Child’s Pose.
Inhale and walk your finger tips to the left and feeling a strong stretch on the right side of the body. Press your finger tips into the ground and without moving your hands feel like you are pulling the ground towards your armpits.
Notice if there is a difference in this pose between the right and left side of the body.
Stay in this pose for 4 breaths.
Inhale come back into Table Top. Exhale engage your core and on an inhale lift your knees coming into a High Push Up. Exhale bend your knees and push back into a Down Dog. Inhale come back into a High Push Up. Exhale drop the knees coming into Table Top. Inhale in Table Top and repeat the sequence 4 times.
*While moving through this sequence ensure that the shoulders are externally rotated.
Come back into Table Top.
Slowly bring yourself down onto your stomach. Place your elbows under your shoulders and your forearms straight out from the elbows. Gently arch the back and expand through the chest coming into Sphinx Pose.
Stay in Sphinx Pose for 6 breaths.
Gently come back down onto your stomach and roll yourself onto your back. Once on your back inhale and bring your knees to your chest. Stay here for 4 breaths. You can create slight movement or stay in stillness.
Inhale bring your forehead towards your knees and knees towards your forehead.
Exhale release your knees extend both legs along the ground, allow the head to be heavy and place your hands at your side with palms facing the ceiling. Allow your eyes to close and become completely relaxed coming into Corpse Pose.
Stay in Corpse Pose anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes to allow both the body and mind to relax completely. This will allow you to optimize the benefits you have gained from the session.
This post is not to be construed as medical advice. Please seek the assistance of a licensed professional before beginning your yoga routine.
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Jeff Grace is the owner and operator of Excel with Grace which specializes in teaching sport specific and therapeutic yoga.
Jeff is trained in vinyasa (flow), hatha, yin, restorative and therapeutic yoga practices. He is also completing his 500 hour certification as a yoga therapist.
Jeff has been deeply immersed in the sport for decades. He has been coaching for over 20 years and has had athletes medal at both CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) Championships and Age Group Nationals.
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