Shoulder stretch

Yoga for Shoulders

The shoulder girdle acts as a stabilizer to help us carry weight in our arms and also with the support of your spine.  Alignment of the shoulder girdle is vital not only for the health of your shoulder joints, but also for the health of your spine.  Your shoulders are open when the shoulder girdle supports the natural Helen shoulders 1curve of your spine.  The shoulder muscles are conditioned for great mobility and these muscles must be balanced on all sides of the shoulder joint for optimum stability.   Every time we lift our arms, many shoulder muscles are activated and because of the structure of the shoulder girdle misalignment of the shoulders leads to misuse and abuse of our shoulders.  Below is a sample of a few of the exercises we will be practicing in this workshop:

Standing Shoulder Strap Kayaking:

a) Standing with a strap made to be slightly wider than shoulder distance.  Helen shoulders 2Hold the rings in one hand.  Flex elbows & raise arms over head & like a lat press keeping elbows bent lower strap behind neck then overhead to in front of chest.  Then keep back movement but  lengthen arms out in front.  Next kayak strap like a figure eight fashion all around body going one direction for 8 then change to other direction.

Modification #1:  Move hands further apart from each other.

Modification #2:  Shorten strap & kayak in front of body.

Standing Strap Cowboy Arms Twist:

Helen shoulders 3In Tadasana holding strap in either hand.  Flex elbows so wrists & shoulders are in line with them.  Inhale, exhale pull strap over to R.  Inhale as you return to the centre.  Exhale pull strap over to L.  Repeat several times.

Standing Strap Eagle Arms Twist:

Even if you can do Garudasana, place hands as if duplicating this pose & hold onto a strap.  Hands will be close together but not touching.  Stand in Tadasana & as you exhale, pull on pieces of strap & twist to R.  Inhale return to centre.  Exhale pull on pieces of strap & twist to L.  Keep scapulae down Helen shoulders 4back.  Repeat several times.



Yoga for Shoulders Workshop

Harmony Yoga Pilates Studio, Calgary

#200, 3160-118th Ave. SE

Facilitator: Helen Mikuska, (E-RYT500, SOYA, IYTA)

Date:         Sunday, April 27, 2014

Time:        1:00-4:00 p.m.

Fee:          $32.25 (incl. gst)

Email:         info@harmonyyogapilates to register

Phone:      403-809-1402

2 replies
  1. Rhona Parsons
    Rhona Parsons says:

    Hi there…thank you for this great article; everyone I know, including me, has some sort of shoulder “issue”!!

    Would you mind explaining the 1st exercise in a different way; I’m not getting it!!
    thank you

  2. Helen Mikuska
    Helen Mikuska says:

    Hi Rhona,

    Helen, here from Harmony. I want to tell you most students don’t get this exercise at first. So I have to demonstrate and talk them through the movement. For the first part, you hold the strap (I like to hold the rings in one hand, as I get a good grip of the strap) into a big downward “V” in front of your thighs. Inhale, you raise the strap over your head. Make sure you have enough the strap wide enough to do this. Exhale, you bring the strap behind your back towards your buttocks (or as far as you can if you have limits with your range of motion). Inhale, raise strap back over head. Exhale and back in front of thighs. Repeat 6-8 times. Now onto the second part of the exercise. Still holding the strap, you will be making a figure-eight motion over your head. You go in one direction to the right for 8 repetitions then switch for a second round to the left. For example, hold the rings in your R hand, big “V” with strap, basically have the wrists just wider than the shoulders, in front of thighs. Okay to start the exercise, raise R arm over head to the L side of your body (left hand is still by left hip). Then as you move the right hand fully behind head (not touching) towards right ear, your L hand then lifts up towards the ceiling. Bring right hand to outside of right hip, then left hand follows in front of the body, crossing the mid-line towards the right hip and finally left hand ends back at left hip. Repeat eight times. Then change rings of strap to left hand and repeat with left hand going over head towards right side of head; same figure-eight movement and repeat eight times. Wanna work with your shoulders, practice this one to improve your range of motion. Namaste, Helen


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