If your shoulders are anything like mine, then a practice focused on opening the shoulder complex 360 degrees will be perfect for you! This Yin Yoga practice focuses on mobilizing the ENTIRE shoulder complex - bringing opening, freedom and release. In just 30 minutes your shoulders can be fully mobilized! Join me using the practice guide below or with me in the video below or here http://bit.ly/YinAM4ShoulderMobility.
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Supported Fish Pose
Hold: 2-5 minutes +
Take a rolled towel or blanket across the mat. Settle down onto it with the shoulders fully supported at first and then slowly begin to inch your way towards the floor with shoulder blades barely grazing the floor behind you. Start here allowing the shoulders and upper back to fully release and open. Take your arms up overhead or out to sides (even interlacing them if comfortable). You can stay here for the remainder of the time OR gently inch your way to where the shoulders are fully supported on the floor. To come out - bend knees, press into your feet and lifting your hips - remove the blanket from underneath. Bring your hips back down and relax for 5 more breaths before continuing.
Easy Seated Pose with Eagle Arms (Sukhasana variation)
Hold: 2-5 minutes
Come into an easy cross-legged seated position, propped on a blanket if necessary. Take your right leg in front. Taking your arms out to the side in a cactus form, wrap right arm underneath left, double wrapping the arms and wrist if possible. Take hands away from the face and elbows as high as your shoulders and begin to fold forward. Fold as far as you feel comfortable holding. Allow the back side of the shoulders to slide towards the ground and separate away from each other. Feel the tension release in the upper neck and back. To come out, sit back up, unwind. Take a few breaths and then switch legs and arms for the other side.
Supine Cowface - Arms Variation (Gomukhasana arms shoulder stretch)
Hold: 2-4 minutes
From a lying down position, roll onto your left side and tuck your right arm, palm out, up between the shoulder blades (remember 2/3 of your maximum). Begin to roll onto your back keeping the right hand underneath you and adjusting as necessary to hold here. Take your left arm up and over your head, palm up, and rest your head on your elbow, forearm or hand. Your arms will be in Cowface pose arms position underneath you. Settle in, breath and sense the areas of the body being released. To come out, release your left hand, roll to your left and release your right hand and lie flat for 5 breaths. Check in with your body and then go onto the second side.
Hold: 2-3 minutes per side
Come onto your belly taking your feet wider than the hips apart. Tuck your right arm, palm up, underneath your body and your left arm behind your right (palm up) so they are crisscrossed underneath your shoulders. Tuck your chin into the x in the middle or rest your forehead on a block or blanket. Breathe deeply and allow the shoulders to unwind and release. Have patience with this pose - breath into it and allow it to work it's magic. It is not an easy pose to hold but you will feel AMAZING when you come out! To come out, lift your chin and begin to unwind. Take a few minutes with arms bent out to sides and feel the sensations in your arms and shoulders. Take the second side crisscrossing the arms the opposite way with left arm in front of right.
Supine Chest/Shoulder Opener
Hold: 1-3 minutes
Come onto your stomach taking your arms out to the sides, elbows in line with shoulders or slightly below and bent into cactus arms. Turn your head to the left and rest your ear on the floor. Begin to walk your left hand down to shoulder height coming up on the fingertips and press into them rolling your body to the right. Stay here or if you are able, take the top leg back behind you (foot to floor) and roll over further. Feel the stretch across the entire front chest and shoulder. Hold here and breath. To come out, roll back to your stomach, release your hand/arm down and take a few breaths. Turn your head to the other side and take the second side stretch.
Melting Heart Pose (Anahatasana)
Hold: 2-5 mins
Come onto hands and knees (blanket underneath for comfort if needed). Begin to drop your belly down towards the floor keeping hips directly over knees. Start to walk your hands out in front of you (wide if that opens your shoulders more) and drop your chest and forehead to the floor (or a block). If it feels okay, you can take chin to floor - remember 2/3 of your max pose. Breathe deeply into the spine and chest (engage navel if this is too much on your lower back). To come out, engage your core and begin to lift, walking your hands back towards your knees. Take Downward Facing Dog for 5-8 breaths - bending one knee and the other.
Hold: 5-10 minutes
Allow the heels to settle out to the corners of the mat, slide your shoulder blades underneath your body, and take your hands over your head, elbows bent (if you can rest the ENTIRE arm on the floor only, otherwise, take your arms up as high as is comfortable). Take some deep breaths, coming back to the 3 part breath - first in the belly, then in the chest and finally the collarbones - and extend the exhale even longer. Allow yourself to sigh a few times and let it all go! Take a 6 count inhale, 6 count exhale, 6 count hold at the bottom of the exhale for 3-5 rounds. Focus on your breath. LET. IT. ALL. GO.
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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