I may be a day late for International Yoga Day, but if you practice a bit of yoga #everydamnday, does it really matter?
Sometimes people like to think yoga isn’t a “real workout”. Well, I’ll take you to a hot vinyasa flow anytime, any day and you just let me know how you’re feeling the next day. It’s a beautiful practice that involves both body and mind, spirit and flesh. After wringing your body out of toxins and negativity, along with the endorphin high from the cardiovascular activity, you feel absolutely recharged, rejuvenated, and… peaceful. We could learn a lot from the practice, and for me, it was addicting from the moment I sent my hips up into downward facing dog. There is literally a pose or a sequence of poses for EVERY single body part and any sort of pain or ailment you may have. Some can even be done – In. Bed. There’s also a flow for every age and every level.
Majority of Americans, and much of the developed world, spend over 40% of their lives hunched over a keyboard and in front of a screen. Rounded shoulders are the perfect ingredient to looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame before anyone should even be calling you madame. My favorite yoga sequence after a particularly long week or end of month madness at the workplace, involves lots of shoulder stretching and opening. We tend to carry a lot of tension in our backs and our shoulders when we have a lot on our mind or when we feel the weight of the world bearing down on us, so these poses are some of my personal favorite to do when I’m feeling stressed, overwhelmed, tense, tight, or even just when I need a pick me up.
The Glam Greek’s Favorite Shoulder Poses
- Wide Legged Forward Bend with Clasped Hands
- I love beginning a practice with this pose (as always, after a couple of Sun Salutations) because it helps to engage everything. The shoulder opening part is getting your arms behind you and clasping the hands together to stretch out the front of your delts.
- Eagle Pose
- This pose can appear a little daunting at first, and maybe your hip flexors wont allow you to wrap one leg around the other, and that’s okay. The arm part of this pose can also, very easily, be done in a seated position. Take both your arms out wide, start by bringing your right arm across to your left side, cross your left arm on top of your right, bend at the elbows – if you’re a beginner or very tight, you can stay here – or continue twisting for an amazing rear deltoid stretch; then switch sides!
- Thread the Needle Pose
- This is probably my FAVORITE of the shoulder poses because I think it’s the first that I learned and mastered of these. Bringing it down onto the mat, I’d suggest to start on all fours, bring your right arm up, bend at the elbow and start reaching under and across through to your left side. Stay here or extend your left arm in front of you and shift your hips over your feet to stretch both your outer & inner delts respectively.
- Marichi’s Pose
- I LIVE for this pose. If you sit at a desk all day, stretching your shoulders, back AND hips out is MAJOR key to living a healthy life – take care of your joints man. You only get one set! Any twisting pose helps to wring out the inner organs and detoxify!
- Bow Pose
- From two rear deltoid stretching poses to a front deltoid stretch, and everything in between – I’m obsessed with boat pose. This calls for a lot of back flexibility, so take baby steps. This works back, glutes, and stretches quads and front deltoids!
- Reverse Prayer
- A typical yoga sequence will end in some sort of variation of lotus pose and the usual prayer arms, but to end your practice with an amazing last front deltoid shoulder hoorah, send your arms behind you to reverse prayer. This one is particular I feel is GREAT for posture as your hands will come into the middle of your back and encourage a straight sitting position. Sometimes I even do this mid-morning to ensure my posture is straight (my co-workers think I’m strange I’m sure…)
There are SO many poses that can stretch out the shoulders, these are just my favorite that I come to time and time again.
If there are any questions, please feel free to contact me!
The Glam Greek