I teach yoga to a large variety of people, but this posture, known as ‘half namaste’ always garners the same reaction of ohh’s and ahh’s and an occasional “woah that’s tight”.
The majority of shoulder movement is from the glenohumeral joint. This is a shallow ball and socket that is held in place by a capsule with ligaments and a series of muscles.
In this modern age we tend to spend a lot of time creating a hunch and a closure in the front process of this joint. I like to call it the “Facebook hunch”. So this month ….nama – stay – away – from stiff shoulders – did you see what I did there?
I understand that this is can be a difficult arm position for some but if you work on the stretch slowly and without frustration and with a steady breath, you will see an improvement.
As you can see from photo one: On an exhalation, sweep the right arm behind your back and tuck the forearm in the hollow of your lower back, parallel to your waist, with the right elbow against the right side of your torso. (Beginners may have trouble bringing the elbow close into the side – just work at your own pace).
Roll the shoulder down the back and then work the forearm up your back until it is parallel to your spine. The back of your hand will be between your shoulder blades.
We then follow photo two:
We lower our back down to the floor, knees can stay bent. The focus once on your back is to try to even up the weight distribution on both shoulders. You will feel like you are up a little on the left side of your body. Try to close the body down to the floor on the left hip and shoulder. This will increase the sensation of the stretch.
As this is a Yin Yoga pose it is best to try and hold this posture for a minimum of one minute, two minutes is even better. The nature of the area of the body we are stretching responds better to longer holds in a milder stretch.
As you hold the posture, remember to breathe deep and focus on the outbreath being the catalysts for shoulder muscle release.
Although this is not a traditional hatha yoga pose, it is so beneficial for people of all walks of life that is should be included into your weekly routine. Your shoulders will love you for it!
Kim White is the owner of Sala Samadhi. She offers authentic Hatha yoga instruction for private and group sessions. Contact: www.mindbodyyogasystem.com or 086 276 9174.
The opinions and advice contained in this column are those of the author only. The Phuket News is not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any situation.