Do you have shoulder pain? Perhaps you struggle with limited range of movement in your shoulders? The shoulders are tricky joint in the body because it’s highly mobile. As a result, this wide range of movement can mean they are prone to injury and issues. Therefore, I’m going to share the #1 yoga for shoulder mobility exercise I recommend to my students and clients. Especially the ones with limited range of movement in the shoulder.
Pain in the shoulders can have many causes. For instance, tendonitis, torn rotator cuff/labrum, dislocation, bursitis, frozen shoulder, impingement, dislocation, osteoarthritis, instability, fractures and more. A startling statistic is that shoulder pain is the third most common cause of musculoskeletal consultation in primary care. However, if you have shoulder pain I’d always suggest seeing a medical professional before beginning ANY movement program. Ok, enough with the disclaimers, let’s move on.
Movement is very visual. As such, I have created a video showing yoga for shoulder mobility exercises which you can view below. On the other hand, you could go watch on YouTube. While you’re there don’t forget to like, comment, share and subscribe!
Yoga for Shoulder Mobility exercise
This yoga for shoulder mobility movement is called scapula retraction. It’s a movement our shoulders are made to do. However, many movements in our daily lives are creating imbalance in the back body. From commuting, to computers, to eating, and probably the worst culprit… the mobile phone. Everything is forward. Over the last twenty years working in health and wellness I’ve seen a lot of shoulder disfunction happen from the inability to recruit the muscles of the upper back. Time to wake those muscles up from their sleepy slumber!
The basic version of this yoga for shoulder mobility exercise will begin in Childs pose. From all fours on the floor, sit the hips back towards the heels. Resting the forehead on the floor. Interlace the fingers, and place the hands on the back of the head. Feel the elbows connected to the floor. To perform the movement, lift the elbows off the floor, then reconnect. It’s important to note that the hands WILL NOT leave the head. Aim to do at least 12-15 repetitions.
Head doesn’t touch the floor in Childs pose?
I know for some the head touching the floor is a tricky topic. Know that there is a solution. You bring the floor up to YOU by placing a block or folded blanket underneath your head. This requires a little more range of movement downwards but the premise is the same with the hand position.
This supported variation of Childs pose is a good alternative in general, for those not able to get their heads to the floor. And great for those with “forward head posture”. If this version is too tricky then consider the option below.
Can’t get to the floor?
Understandably sometimes it’s inconvenient to get down onto all fours to do this exercise. Or maybe you also have knee/hips issues? No fear, you can do this exercise seated or standing. I still prefer to use the wall as it gives us feedback. Either sit or stand facing the wall, again let the forehead touch. Interlace the fingers, hands to the back of the head and perform the exercise exactly the same as before. It’s important to remember this is for mobility not strength. We’re asking the muscles of the upper back to pull the shoulder blades towards the spine.
This has been the #1 shoulder exercise people in my classes rave about for how it helps their mobility. Not only does it mobilize the shoulder. It also assists with posture as we discover how to engage the muscles of the back body. If you feel like everyday life is starting to pull your shoulders down and round then I highly suggest you begin implementing this into your self-care regime. It also makes a great warm up exercise for “shoulder day” at the gym. Try it, and feel the difference.
- Do you have shoulder pain or movement issues?
- What joint bothers you the most in your body?
- Are any of your joints excessively mobile?
I will have to show this to my husband for a few years now every once and while his shoulder will give him issues
Definitely helps. Just needs to be done regularly!
I have been suffering from a stiff neck and shoulders for a while. Will give this a try, thank you
great! I hope it helps and you get some relief!
There are some really good tips here for sure.
I have literally just started yoga, so looking forward to seeing how it goes xx
You’re welcome! Enjoy your yoga!
Such great tips, thank you so much for sharing! I often suffer with shoulder and neck pain, not helped probably by being sat at a computer working all day so I will definitely give some of these a try! Thanks for sharing.
Computer neck definitely isn’t the friend of of shoulders!
Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too
I tend to get bouts of frozen shoulder from time to time. This is really helpful to try and limit these bouts and strengthen my shoulders.
Ugh frozen shoulder is so painful. I feel for ya! let me know how it goes.
michelle twin mum
I did pilates for a while and really enjoyed that, but then I got injured and just moved away. Perhaps yoga is what I should dry next. Mich x
Let me know what injury you got and I’ll tell you what to avoid 🙂
I love this posture and really do find that it helps with the stiffness and pain I can get in my postures. Thank you so much for adding in all the variations as it really does help to make it more accessible.
Really happy you like the content!
I am a baritone saxophone player, which means I put on a harness that puts the weight of a baritone saxophone (one of the larger members of the saxophone family) on my shoulders for an extended period of time each time I perform. I’m definitely going to have to incorporate this into my routine!
Oh this would be a perfect thing for you to do!!!
I don’t have shoulder pain but my partner often does so I will be showing him this – hopefully it will help him!
In my experience men are more likely to have shoulder ‘stuff’ than women.
Yoga is a great way to exercise and it helps with a lot of ailments. I find it good for my sciatica too.
Me too! I suffer with sciatica and doing yoga helps such a lot!
Thank you for this. My shoulders need help as I have aged.
Yep, it’s our poor posture that does it.
These look like easy poses to help with shoulder pain. I will have to give them a try
Awesome! Hope they help!
These are great tips. I have been thinking about taking up yoga, and I have stiff shoulders from sitting down at a laptop all day. So will give this a try.
Oh heck yes! This is perfect for “computer posture”.
I was just sitting here with shoulder pain and now I’m going to try this. Thank you!
Awesome! Hopefully it helps and you get some relief!