After an intense practice or training, long tiring day in the office, or you are just after a little TLC (that's tender loving care) for your shoulders or body in general 😍, here's my top 3 Shoulder Opener & Restorative Poses:
1. Shoulder Roll - Anterior Deltoid and Pectoralis Stretch
Lie down on one side of the body extending the arm sideways. Ideally the wrist should be higher than the shoulder but see what works best for your body. Some key points to remember here is to put a block under your head so the neck is in line with the spine, keep the palm of the bottom arm face down the floor, the upper leg will act as a lever for going deeper (or not!) in to the pose. Interlace the fingers if your top hand can reach the bottom hand otherwise, just keep the top arm infront of the chest that will serve as another lever. Stay here for 2 - 4 minutes or shorter. Be sure that you are pain-free in this position.
2. Melting Heart A & B
Rest the elbows on a block. If you have broad shoulders, use 2 blocks and rest the elbows in each block.
Melting Heart (A) is more of an active pose and it would be good to follow it up with Melting Heart B where you can stay maximum of 4 minutes. Relax the lower rib cage and avoid hyper-extending the lower back.
3. Final Restorative A & B
Lie down on your back with one block supporting the back of your head and the other supporting your shoulder blades. The position of the block may vary and you should chose the one that you are most comfortable with - the one that doesn't poke your bone or muscle. Final Restorative A could be a deep thoracic spine stretch for some but if it feels good, stay up to maximum of 4 minutes then lower the blocks to go in to Final Restorative B where you can stay (forever)😇.
These poses opens and relaxes the shoulders, stretch the front deltoids, triceps, and lats, externally rotate the upper arms thus opens the chest and avoid hunching of the upper back, lengthens the back of the neck counteracting neck flexion as we always do with our neck as we get busy on our smart phones, tablets, laptops or other gadget. These poses also allows you to connect with your breathe and to the subtle energy of the body giving you more that sense of calmness and relaxation.
Article written by Lizel Cameron
Yoga Teacher/Personal Trainer
Corrective Exercise Specialist
Certified Functional Strength/Conditioning level 1