Yoga Poses for Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pain can be quite uncomfortable and debilitating. It can restrict everyday functions and activities like lifting objects, swimming, running, or even sleeping. Such pain may be a result of an injury like a tear in the muscle, a dislocation, sprain, or surgery. In addition to rest and the other recommended treatments provided by a physician, you can apply some light stretches to the shoulders to help the healing process. Yoga is a good source of pain relief when it comes to managing shoulder pain.

No matter what type of discomfort you are experiencing from your shoulder pain, it is important to use a gentle approach when practicing certain yoga poses. The muscles of the shoulder (the deltoids) are a smaller set of muscles and take some time to heal after an injury or surgery. The extra time for relief is due to the fact that we use our arms and shoulders so much; they are in constant motion. In order for the healing process to be successful, the applied remedies should be slow and gentle.

You can practice the following five yoga poses and movements to encourage relief and healing of your shoulder pain. They will be a combination of fluid movement, gentle stretches, applied pressure, and resting poses to reach your intended goal.


Extended Mountain Pose

This is a simple movement intended to test your range of motion and encourage mobility in your arms and shoulders when they may be stiff or tight. Start in a standing position like Mountain Pose. Relax your arms down by your side. As you inhale, slowly raise your arms directly overhead. Exhale to lower them back down by your side. Repeat this movement 5 to 10 times then allow your arms and shoulders to relax.

By practicing this yoga flow, it will establish movement in the joints, a gentle stretch in all portions of the shoulder, and provide great mobility to help relieve pain and discomfort.




Arm Across Your Chest Pose

This exercise can be performed while standing or seated. It will target the rear and side deltoid muscles for a soft and gradual stretch. While standing or seated, be sure your spine is long and straight. Starting with your right arm, extend it across your chest; hold it in place with your left arm. Apply gentle pressure to the arm to gauge the stretch quality to the shoulder area. This pose can be held for up to one minute to create the necessary relief.

Once complete, allow the arm and shoulder to completely relax. Be sure to practice this pose on the other arm.



Easy Pose

As mentioned, allowing your shoulders to remain in stillness with non-movement can also be a very good remedy for shoulder pain. Sitting in a relaxed yoga pose can encourage that relaxation. Easy Pose is a typical yoga position that will not only relax your neck and shoulders but can also calm your whole body and mind for added stress release.

As you are able, sit comfortably on a cushion on the floor. Sit up as tall as you can. (For added support, sit up against a wall.) Allow your arms to simply relax down by your side with your hands resting in your lap. Close your eyes. While sitting in stillness for the next 3 to 5 minutes, focus on your breathing. A slow steady breath in and out is sufficient for this exercise.

The intention is to foster pain relief not only in your shoulders but also throughout the rest of your body. The meditative position helps reduce the stress response that often alludes to more pain in the body.




Child's Pose

This yoga pose can be a gentle stretch for the shoulders as well as a way to relax the deltoid muscles. First, come to your hands and knees to begin this yoga posture. It may be more comfortable to kneel on a blanket when performing this pose. Slowly sit your hips back toward your heels while you extend your arms out in front of you on the floor. As you're able, rest your forehead to the ground. (You may also rest it on a soft pillow.) As your head and chest lower, this creates a gentle stretch in your shoulders. Gauge the depth of the pose so you do not overstretch them. You want to find a placement in which you can hold the posture for at least one full minute. After that allotted time, shift your arm position in which you're reaching back toward your feet. Allow your arms to completely relax in this position. Hold here for an additional 30 seconds. You are welcome to repeat the Child's Pose stretch one or two more times to achieve the necessary relief.


This is also a wonderful pose to complete your shoulder relief regimen. Not only will Child's Pose stretch your shoulders, but then you can rest your entire body in this meditative position for a few extra minutes so you feel relaxed throughout your entire body.




Thread The Needle Pose

This particular posture provides a stretch to the shoulder that targets the rear deltoid. It also creates a light pressure on the muscle that can also encourage healing.

Come to your hands and knees for this pose. Starting with your right hand, "thread" your arm behind your left arm while lowering it completely to the floor. (You may need to bend your left elbow to 90 degrees to accommodate the position.) You will end up in a twist with your right shoulder making contact with the floor. Simply hold this posture for 90 seconds while you experience the stretch and light pressure. To come out of the position, press your opposing hand into the floor so you can lift and remove the threaded arm. Return to the hands and knees position and practice the pose on the other side.


So, if you're looking for some simple yoga postures to practice that will lead to great relief in your pained shoulders, perform this short series of yoga poses and movements to encourage healing. Also try our new Heating and Cooling Should Wrap with lavender aromatherapy for quick neck and shoulder pain.