Sunday, 8 January 2017

Yoga moves for tight winter shoulders

Here in Yorkshire we have just had a cold snap. I have found myself hunching my shoulders against the cold with the result that my shoulders have been achy.  To remedy this I have put together the following yoga moves.  You will need a yoga strap or dressing gown tie or similar.

Shoulder stretches - sit back on your heels or in a comfortable cross leg position.  Fold the yoga strap in two and hold either end.  Breathe in, lift your arms up, breathe out lower and repeat twice more.  
Unfold your strap and take you hands wider.  Breathe in, lift your arms up, breathe out, take them down so that the strap comes behind your body.  Breathe in, lift your arms, breathe out lower to your start position. Repeat twice more then come to standing.  
 Standing shoulder releases - start in the middle of your mat with your legs wide, your toes turned out.  Bend your knees and circle your right arm up as you breathe in and straighten your leg, circle back down as you breathe out and bend your knees.  Repeat second side and continue for several moves working with your breath.

After several moves, bring your hands to your thighs.  Breathe in and as you breathe out, bring your left shoulder towards your right knee for a twist.  Breathe in, come back to centre and repeat bringing your right shoulder towards your left knee.  

Continue for several moves then turn so that your hips face the short edge of the mat, front right knee bent, back toes at 45 degrees (Warrior 1 legs).  Take your hands behind your back, interlace your fingers.  Breathe in, lift your chest, take your arms away from your back (Standing Cobra).  

Turn to face forward, keeping the front knee bent.  Breathe in, bring your right elbow to right thigh, breathe out circle your left arm down and up by your left ear (Side Angle Pose).  If you wish continue to circle the top arm or hold, keeping the top shoulder moving back.  To come out, breathe in, bring your arms to shoulder height, breathe out, bring your hands to heart, turn your feet to face forward.  

Wide leg standing forward fold variation with Cow Face Arms- have your yoga strap over your right shoulder.  Breathe in raise your right arm, breathe out take your right hand down your back.  Breathe in extend your left arm forward, breathe out externally rotate your left arm up your back.  If your hands do not meet take hold of the strap with your hands and creep your fingers towards one another.  Do not pull on the strap which will drive your hands further apart.  Breathe in and as you breathe out fold (into a flat back position if you have blood pressure issues or heart problems).  Breathe in to come back up, turn your toes out and repeat the whole sequence on the second side.  If you wish you can do some shoulder rolls between sides - roll your shoulders up by your ears then back and down.

To finish sit on your mat and take a soft forward fold over bent legs.  Spend a couple of minutes watching your breath.


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