3 More Stretches for the Shoulders

Intense East

I asked my fellow yogis for thoughts on stretching the deep muscles of the scapulae and I just had to share some of the more appealing postures. Check out some of these suggestions.

Purvottanasana Reverse plank, seen above, opens the chest while strengthening and stretching the shoulders. Click on the link for a nice walk-through of the posture.

Cactus in the Rain Okay, so I made up the name to this one. You can do this in the corner of any room, but in the shower you have the benefit of the heat on your upper back. Stand 3 to 4 feet from the corner, put your hands on the walls and raise your arms overhead or into cactus pose. Lean in to the corner taking your chest closer to the wall. This will cause your shoulder blades to come closer together, and open up your sides and shoulders.

Hug A “self hug” brings your arms across your chest and opens the back body. This will help stretch the rhomboids and all those other deep muscles that connect your shoulder blade to your spine. Also, hugs you guys.

shoulder stretch

The first image of reverse plank is from Fit Sugar. The woman in the second image is almost hugging herself. She’s halfway there. She can do it! From Claire Mockridge.

This & That: Big-Bag Shoulder

purse shoulder

Is it the case across the whole country, or do New Yorkers suffer from Big Bag syndrome more than other metropolitan areas? Which is fine, until I start to feel that familiar pinch. It’s my traps, my rhomboids, my whole shoulder girdle objects. And then I get into down dog and -yikes-.

When it’s bad, it’s really bad. And cat cow can be a compassionate remedy. It stretches your back body and helps you gain a gentle range of motion in your shoulders and neck. Key word here being: gentle.

seated cat


Until you get back to normal, I would stay away from any weight bearing on the shoulders. Sorry, headstand. Try a modified down dog, too, by using a stable chair or dresser. Here’s a helpful link I found for that modification.

NOTE: Sharp pain can be an indicator of serious injury. This is one of those times I’m going to say get yourself to a doctor to get checked out.

The street style pic is from a blog called Fashion Tent. The images for seated cat cow come from gaiam.com.