Shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in our body. When a shoulder movement takes place, muscles contract and relax to produce the wide range of movement possible. However, pain in shoulder could be because of a variety of reasons some being the likes of inflammatory arthritis or joint diseases or also coming from other parts of your body like neck problem or even conditions affecting our diaphragm which is our main breathing muscle.
Traumatic injuries can also occur from contact or combat sports or from falling down awkwardly injuring the area. Also spending hours in front of a computer, television or mobile phones and repetitive movement patterns can lead to neck and shoulder strains. Another serious shoulder pain could also be referred from a heart condition where pain would be experienced around your left shoulder.
Self help measures can be used to avoid shoulder issues and also regularly exercising to strengthen with dynamic strengthening and stretching practices helps to get the injured area back to normal.
Some of the below yoga asanas amongst many others can be suggested to help prevent or repair any problems around and in the shoulder area.
Remember to warm up your body muscles and joints before getting into any of the following postures.
- Uttana Shishona\Extended Puppy pose (variation)
This posture stretches the vertebral column and the shoulder intensely. Ensure you are flexible and comfortable before you get into the posture. Do not push yourself too hard. Listen to your body and increase the density gradually. This pose also helps relieve stress by releasing tensions accumulated in the body.
- Heart opener pose
If you have a prop like a blanket, yoga block, cushion, bolster a restorative heart opener is a great place to begin your exploration. This pose stretches the front and compresses your shoulders complimenting each other generously.
- Garudasana or the eagle pose
Can be done a few times in a day, using both arms to immediately stretch your shoulders and release tension around the base of the neck and the area between the shoulder blades. Avoid this posture if you suffering from any rotator cuff issues. Otherwise, it can be a relaxing option for tightness and stress around the upper back, neck and shoulder region.
- Parsva Balasana or thread the needle pose
This is another subtle restorative posture that gently massages and releases stress in the shoulder region. It also stretches the muscles increasing the circulation and relaxing any problem in the shoulder area.
- Gomukhasana or the cow face pose
This asana brings the arms to free the shoulder joints, releasing any stress accumulated in that area relaxing the region from any issues relating to shoulder pain. You can practice this asana seated on a chair, bed or floor at any time of the day to stretch and mobilize your shoulder muscles.
- Pashchima Namaskara or the Reverse Prayer Pose
This asana helps to realign the shoulder blades, a problem common for people who sit in front of computers regularly. This pose stretches the shoulder muscle which helps release stress accumulated in the region. It also helps to improve your body posture.
- Shoulder stretch using straps
Holding the strap slightly wider than shoulders, slowly lift it over the head and behind the back and to the front. You can also sway it sideway to stretch the muscles all around the shoulders. This is a great way to open the shoulders and ensure you practice this with comfort. Do not force any postures to cause any pain, discomfort or injuries.
(Ranjana Pradhan is personally interested and have been trained in delivering lessons on Classical yoga. She has intently studied classical yoga and have taken particular interest in the delivery and long-term benefits from these practices of yoga for the last four years. She has completed the yoga chakra training from the oldest yoga university in the world, the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger, Bihar, India. She is also certified from Mysore, South India to teach Ashtanga Yoga, a different variety of yoga form. She currently takes regular online yoga sessions for groups and individuals from Bhutan, India, Nepal, Australia, UK and France during the COVID-19 pandemic.)