Finding Joy in Movement

Prone Shoulder Opening Twists

Not a classical yoga pose, but a really useful one. This simple stretch can be a relaxing way to open the front of the shoulders (deltoids), the upper arms (biceps), and the chest (pectorals).

To begin, lie down on your belly and extend the arms 90 degrees out to the side. Take the left hand underneath the left shoulder and then roll over to your right. You can experiment with the angle of the arm a bit here. Generally, the closer to 90 degrees, the deeper the stretch, though play around a bit and find your sweet spot – that part of the shoulder and chest that could use a little extra attention. Rest the side of the head comfortably on the floor.

As you roll to the side, you can bend the left leg and place the left foot on the floor behind the right leg. If your shoulders are really open, you might be able to bend both knees and place both feet on the floor, but only if you can still keep the arm extended at your optimum angle. Press through all 5 knuckles of the extended hand and notice the subtle shift of the stretch at the shoulder. Another thing to experiment with is to tuck and untuck the tailbone and notice how what you do with the hips also subtly affects the shoulder stretch.

Hold here for as long as feels comfortable. Concentrate on the breath to release tension in the front of the shoulder and relax your way further into the stretch. Once you are ready, switch sides, holding for as long as you held on the first side.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you or see you at one of my classes!

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