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5 Yoga Poses to Increase Flexibility in Your Shoulders

Keeping your shoulders functioning properly is more important than ever, and a great routine of stretching and yoga poses can help you do just that.

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Modern life is rough on your shoulders. Everything we do is forward reaching:

  • Driving your car
  • Working on a computer
  • Texting on your phone

This constant forward reaching position, along with the tendency to hold your head down and forward to look at a screen of some sort, can cause tension and a loss of mobility in your shoulders.

These 5 yoga poses can help restore mobility in your shoulders:

  1. Child’s Pose: While on your knees, place your hands as far forward over your head as possible while placing your forehead on the floor. Breathe deeply several times and allow yourself to really sink into this pose. Hold for 3 – 6 slow breaths.
  2. Camel: While still on your knees, rise up and reach back toward your ankles with a backward arch in your back. Allow your chest to open up as you reach toward your ankles. Imagine your ribcage opening and expanding as your breathe deeply, letting your shoulders open more with each breath. Hold for 3 – 6 slow, deep breaths.
  3. Bow: Lie down on your stomach, reach back with both hands to grasp your ankles. Keep knees no wider than hips. While pulling equally with arms and legs, try to move feet and head toward the ceiling, increasing the stretch to the front of your shoulders. Hold for 3 – 6 deep breaths.
  4. Twist: Lie on floor on your back with knees bent and arms out to your side. Bring your knees up so your hips and knees are at a 90-degree angle. Keep your left arm out to the side on the floor, while using your right to guide your knees down toward the floor on the right. Breathe deeply for 3 – 6 breaths allowing the front of the left shoulder to lengthen. Repeat with the right arm on the floor to the side.
  5. Rear Shoulder Stretch: While sitting, kneeling, or standing, bring your left arm across the front of your chest. Use your right arm to push just above the left elbow up and toward the right shoulder. Hold for 3 – 6 deep breaths, then repeat with the right arm across while using the left arm to increase the stretch.

Bender Birch, B. (1995). Power Yoga: A total strength and flexibility workout. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

Budilovsky, J.; Adamson, E. (1998). The complete idiot’s guide to yoga. New York, NY: Alpha Books.

Kraftsow, G. (2016). A Healing Yoga Sequence to Ease Neck + Shoulder Pain. Yoga Journal. Retrieved on 11/6/17 from

Miller, J. (2017). 4 Poses to Prevent + Heal Shoulder Injuries. Yoga Journal. Retrieved on 11/6/17 from

Shaw, B. (2009). YogaFit: The program for a more powerful, flexible, and defined physique. Second Edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

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