Working at a computer, lifting your kids, repetitive movements or an intense exercise routine can cause major tightness in the shoulders. Even anger, resistance, stress, guilt or shame can create tension in the shoulders. Needless to say, your shoulders carry a great deal of weight.
One way to slow down and release tension is to practice yoga. This will help you calm your mind, balance your emotions, and open your shoulders. The following four yoga poses increase flexibility and range of motion, decrease stress, and allow blood, oxygen and energy to flow into the chest, neck, back and shoulders.
Add these poses to your daily routine to open your shoulders.
Utthita Parsvakonasana: Extended Side-Angle Pose
Stand tall with your feet about 4-feet apart. Turn your left foot in slightly toward the right and turn your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left arch. Raise the arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides with palms face down.
As you inhale, gaze over your right fingertips. Exhale; bend the right knee over the right ankle, so that the shin is perpendicular to the floor. Lean the torso forward, resting the right elbow on the knee. The left arm extends over the left ear and your palm faces the floor. Activate the left leg and press the outer edge of the left foot into the floor. Roll the left hip open and reach through the extended arm to lengthen the torso. Stay here for five breaths and then switch sides.
- Stretches the upper back, neck, chest and shoulders: latiissimus dorsi, levator scapulae, pectoralis major and teres major.
- Strengthens the shoulder girdle: serratus anterior, posterior deltoid, infraspinatus and teres minor.