Friday, November 5, 2010

Opening & Release: Part 3 - Shoulders

Today's entry is Part 3 of our 4-Part Opening & Release Series. The focus of this home yoga practice is your shoulders.

Shoulders rare a very delicate part of the body. They allow our arms to move in every direction and when they are injured, they can take a significant amount of time to heal. Shoulders can also hold a lot of tension, so this practice will help to release some of that tension.

Start by standing in Mountain Pose. Inhale to lift your arms overhead to Extended Mountain Pose. Hold this posture and continue to breathe deeply. As you inhale, reach even higher toward the sky. This process is to help open up the shoulders along this range of motion. With your next exhale, bring your arms down by your side.

Now begin a simple vinyasa (flow) of extending your arms overhead with an inhale and return your arms downward on an exhale. Do this three times.

Next, extend your arms overhead then bring them down behind you. Clasp your fingers together. (If you're unable to clasp your fingers, hold onto a towel in both hands.) lengthen your arms so that your fingers are reaching down toward the floor. Meanwhile, inhale to lift your and open your chest. On your exhale, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Continue this for at least five breaths. You may experience the sensation of stretching and opening in the front part of your shoulders.

To complete your practice, repeat the Standing Forward Fold that you learned in the previous blog entry. In the posture, allow gravity to assist you so you feel like a heavy weight moving towards the earth. Gently move your shoulders, head, and neck to help release any tension still lingering in your body. Remain here for at least 10 breaths then return to a standing posture (Mountain Pose) with your hands at heart center.


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