It’s not until we get a shoulder injury that we realise how much we need them. When we’ve got an injury, every little movement hurts. Driving becomes painful and finding a comfortable sleeping position is near enough impossible. Thankfully, putting on your yoga top and hitting the mat can help prevent this. These yoga exercises will help you prevent shoulder injuries.
Wall Pose will help your biceps tendons and rotator cuff to work together and form proper alignment. To practice the asana, begin facing a wall. Lift your arms to shoulder height and place your palms against the wall. This position is almost like a vertical Plank Pose. Draw your scapulae back and down to fire the serratus anterior and help pin the tips of the scapulae to your rib cage. Protract your scapulae by trying to push the wall away from you. You should now feel your shoulder blades separate and the serratus anterior engage. Next, bring your shoulder blades back together to force the rhomboids to act as stabilisers. Finally, rotate your shoulders by trying to twist the wall to the right with your right hand and to the left with your left. This movement minimises harm to the biceps tendons and strengthens the infraspinatus and teres minor. You are in Wall Plank. Hold the posture for 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply.
Mountain Pose is ideal for building strength and increasing flexibility in the shoulders. To practice the posture, stand tall with your feet in line with your hips. Distribute your weight evenly through each foot, ensuring you are not shifting your centre of gravity forward or back. Next, engage your thighs and draw your tailbone forward. Remember to keep your legs straight but your knees unlocked. Take a deep breath in and lengthen your spine as much as possible. As you exhale, draw your shoulders down and back and reach your fingertips toward the floor. On your next inhale, bring your arms up and reach your fingers towards the ceiling. Finally, bring your palms together whilst still reaching your arms upwards. You are in Mountain Pose. Hold the asana for around 30 seconds while concentrating on your breathing.
Downward Dog can heal and injury and strengthen the entire shoulder area. Keeping your arms weight-bearing and overhead can help prevent shoulder injuries. To practice the asana, begin standing tall. When you’re ready, slowly bend at the waist and bring your upper body towards the ground. Place your palms securely on the mat to make your body form a triangle. To maintain balance, keep your spine straight and spread your fingers apart. You are now in Downward Facing Dog. Hold the posture for around 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply.
Thread the Needle is another great pose for building strength and minimising tension in the shoulders. To practice this posture, begin on all fours with your knees aligned with your hips. Next, slowly walk your left hand forward until you can comfortably thread the right arm underneath it. You should be able to rest your right cheek and shoulder on the mat. You are in Thread the Needle Pose. Hold the pose for around 10 breaths as you feel a gentle stretch across the shoulders, neck and upper back. When you feel ready, repeat on the other side.
Cow Face Pose lubricates the shoulder joints and soft tissues to prevent injury. It also reveals how far you can move in internal rotation in the lower arm and external rotation in the upper arm. For best results, practice Cow Face Pose with a yoga strap. To practice the posture, sit down on your mat with your strap in your right hand. Reach your right hand over your right shoulder and your left hand behind your back to grasp the other end of the strap. You are in Cow Face Pose. Hold the posture for 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply. If the asana feels too easy, move your left hand up the yoga strap until you feel a deep stretch.
Ear and Shoulder Rolls relieve tension from the neck and shoulders to prevent injury. To practice the posture, sit on your mat or chair with relaxed shoulders and a straight spine. When you’re ready, move your chin toward your chest then draw your right ear toward your right shoulder. To deepen the stretch, place your right hand on your left ear and apply gentle pressure. After a minute or so, switch to the opposite side. Stretching both the neck and shoulder muscles, Ear to Shoulder Rolls are a quick and easy way to help prevent shoulder injuries.
The final exercise in the sequence is Arm Across Chest Pose. Another simple posture, this exercise can be practised sitting on the floor or a chair. To begin, sit tall with your spine straight and your neck lengthened. With relaxed shoulders, reach your right arm out in front of you before bringing it across your chest. Finally, turn your head to gaze over your right shoulder. You are in Arm Across Chest Pose. Hold the pose for around 30 seconds before repeating on the other side.
When used regularly, these yoga exercises will help you prevent shoulder injuries. For best results, make sure that your muscles are warm before you practice. If you’re travelling to a studio, remember to wrap up in a cosy yoga hoodie or coat to keep your muscles toasty.