It often starts as discomfort that plagues you when you sit or lie down for too long, and before you know it, your shoulder is stiff and pain all the time. The modern lifestyle with its desk jobs and screens are not conducive to upper body health, which can lead to long term pain and even more serious problems such as cervical issues. Thus, it is important to ensure that your shoulders are flexible and strong so that they can support your body and protect the delicate organs around them. Here are six asanas that will help you do just that –
- Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) – One of the more challenging exercises presented by yoga, the bow pose is the ultimate way to stretch your shoulders, open up the chest, and give your legs some workout alongside. However, the pose is often not attainable in the first go, so make sure to use appropriate props, and do not force your body into the pose if it is not ready.
- Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose) – A more relaxing way to build shoulder strength, this easy to do asana can be attempted by people at any level of flexibility, and you can raise your upper body to the level you are comfortable with and then work up from there. Engage your core for the maximum benefit. Walk your hands a little forward to extend the backbend when you feel ready for it.
- Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin Pose) – A great preparatory opener that warms up the shoulders for more challenging poses, this asana strengthens the core, arms, and legs. You can place a mat under your elbows to lift them up and open the shoulders even further. Be sure that your arms do not face too much pressure.
- Halasana (Plough Pose) – A feat of balance, strength, and concentration, this pose not only strengthens the shoulders, but also reduces back pain and helps you in getting better sleep. Beginners should refrain from undertaking the complete inversion, instead, you can use props like a chair to help you get a feel of the proper pose first. Once you are able to maintain your balance, try holding the pose for at least thirty seconds, and be sure to practice coming down safely.
- Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose) – A great way to relax and stretch the shoulders after some intense asanas, this pose helps in stretching the spine and the shoulders, and helps in deep, even breathing. Hold this pose for at least thirty seconds, and if you want to extend the time a little, protect your knees by placing a rolled-up mat between your thighs and calves.
- Adho Mukha Vrksana (Handstand) – It may seem very intimidating and something that only the experts can do, but a handstand, the ultimate test of balance and strength, is definitely something you can work towards. It is best however to practice this asana under supervision to protect your body from injuries. A calming and relaxing asana when mastered, it strengthens the entire upper body.
Integrate these asanas into your regular workout, and not only will you see your shoulder stiffness and pains alleviating, but you will also see an increase in mobility and flexibility that will allow you to do more with fewer injuries.