30-Minute Yoga Flows Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 8

Shoulders: Stretch and Strengthen

30 min - Practice
131 likes

Description

We hold a lot in our shoulders—both literally and metaphorically. Sarah guides us in a Vinyasa flow sequence designed to both strengthen and stretch the shoulders. You will feel like a weight has been lifted off of you.
What You'll Need: Mat

Transcript

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Welcome back. So in this practice we're going to strengthen and stretch the shoulders. We hold a lot in our shoulders so this practice will help us kind of release any of that tension and also just build some strength as well. So let's start on hands and knees. We'll come into some cat-cows to start to warm the body. So shoulders over wrists, hips over the knees. On an inhale just start to arch through the back, look up and lengthen. And then as you exhale draw the navel into the spine, press the floor away and round. Good. Again, inhale as you look up, lengthen, arching. And then as you exhale draw the navel into the spine, rounding down. But take one more. Inhale, arching. And then exhale, draw the navel in and round. Let's take a moment to come back into child's pose. So just letting the hips sink back down toward the heels and then take a prayer with your hands. Let the elbows kind of reach forward and then let the head rest down bringing the prayer behind the back of your head and just feel that stretch in the shoulders and the upper arms allowing just a couple breaths here to really begin to come into your ujjayi breathing. So allowing the breath to start to travel in and out through the nose, even and deep with the breath. Good. And then when you're ready we'll come back up to all four. So making your way back to a tabletop and let's come into a shoulder stretch right away. So on an inhale reach the right arm out to the right and then thread the right arm underneath your left arm coming onto your right shoulder, the right side of the face and then you can start to walk your hands forward maybe reaching the left hand forward or you can take the left hand behind your back coming into a wrap and then just taking a couple breaths here and you might start to spin the chest open just a bit maybe roll toward the back of the head and just sending the breath to that right shoulder. Good and then as you're ready we'll press through the left hand come back up to all fours on an inhale arching the back and then as you exhale coming into cat pose draw the navel into the spine rounding through the upper back and coming back to your tabletop position we'll just take it to the other side. So inhale the left arm out to the left and then threading the left arm underneath the right coming on to the left shoulder left side of the face and then again if you want to walk your right fingertips forward that might feel nice or you can take the right hand behind the back wrapping it up maybe holding on to that left thigh or hip crease and then any movement here if you want to start to roll a little bit onto the left side of the face a little bit more toward the back of your head go for it. Just noticing how this shoulder feels maybe noticing if this one feels any different from the right just deepening the breath.

Good and then coming on out of there pressing into the right hand come back up to your tabletop position and then keeping your hips right over the knees tent your fingertips and start to walk your hands forward lowering the chest down toward the earth coming into puppy pose so you can let the chest lower maybe the forehead comes down if you have a lot of opening the shoulders the chin might find the earth but go easy here we're early in our practice so just slowly allowing the body to open a couple more breaths here. Good and then we'll slide into Sphinx pose so lift up just a bit bring the forearms down to the earth and then let the hips lower down and probably have to adjust a little bit bringing the elbows just slightly in front of the shoulders you can press through the tops of the feet and then just take a moment to drop your chin down toward your chest yeah keeping the legs active engage the core stays engaged to protect the low back and then release the hands behind you as you lower the chest down to the earth interlace the fingers behind your back and then pressing into the tops of the feet keeping the legs connected start to peel the chest up off the earth so the shoulders draw back chin stays tucked back of the neck nice and long take a big breath and maybe lift up just a little bit higher and then as you exhale lower down bring the hands next to the side ribs and then we'll tuck the toes lift the knees up and on an inhale come all the way up to plank pose so finding your way into the top of a push-up and then lift your hips up and back into downward facing dog so coming into your first dog taking a couple breaths here any movement that feels good maybe pedaling it out a few times and then notice the shoulders start to draw the outer upper arms back let the back of the neck be nice and long yeah and then walk your hands back to your feet finding a forward fold at the back of the mat and as you soften your knees here at the back of the mat maybe take the hands behind the low back interlacing the fingers drawing the shoulders away from the ears allowing a couple big breaths here maybe shifting the weight forward just a little bit good and then releasing the clasping of your hands let the hands just melt down toward the earth and then slowly walk back out to downward facing dog making your way into downward facing dog and then from down dog inhale glide forward into plank pose again come to the top of a push-up pause here in plank shoulders over wrists hips in line with the shoulder blades find one long line of energy from the crown of the head back to your heels allow a big breath in here nice and then come right back to downward facing dog let's take that a few times just to warm the joint so inhale come forward into plank pose exhale downward facing dog last one inhale come forward into plank and then exhale downward facing dog pausing here for just a couple full deep breaths good and then inhale your right leg all the way up and back behind you step your foot all the way through between your hands and then we'll find a lunge twist so keeping your left hand down reach your right arm up twisting open to your right side and then stacking the shoulders to begin with twisting from the navel up and then taking your hand and slicing it back along the horizon so that the right arm reaches all the way back maybe take a gaze toward your right fingertips and then drop your left ear toward your left shoulder and just feel that nice stretch in the neck yeah holding here for a couple breaths beautiful and then bringing the right hand down toward the earth framing your front foot let the back knee lower coming into anjali asana reach your arms forward and up and then right away bend through your right elbow take your left hand to your right elbow and just kind of pat yourself on the back there and you'll roll the tricep in so that you feel that stretch in the upper arm maybe sink down a little deeper into the legs nice and then as you're stretching the shoulders see if you can relax them just a little bit more good and then release your hands back down to the earth let's straighten out through the front leg for a breath it's coming into a half split half hanumanasana folding over your front leg drawing the right hip back as you fold in hamstring stretch and then come on out of there we bend through the front leg we'll come right back to down dog and then on an inhale come forward to plank pose you're welcome to lower the knees here we're going to come halfway down through chaturanga and pause in your chaturanga try to keep your shoulders above or in line with the elbows yeah and then release all the way down to the earth good inhale right into cobra draw the shoulders away from the ears as you lift up and then exhale downward facing dog tucking the toes lift the hips up and back nice and then we'll take that to the other side as you're ready inhale the left leg up step your foot through between your hands and then lunge twist right hand stays down left arm lifts and we'll start with stacking the shoulders stay active in your right leg as well and then taking the arm back just taking it slicing it along the horizon so you can gaze back toward your fingertips and then let that right ear drop down toward the right shoulder feel the length through the left side of the neck should feel pretty nice good and then let your left hand fall down to frame your front foot let the back knee lower and then sweeping the arms forward and up coming into anjali asana this time bend the right elbow take your excuse me your left elbow take your right hand to your left elbow this time and then we'll pat ourselves on the back hug the tricep in and then maybe sink a little deeper into your lunge but engage through the core let the rib cage draw down so that you're lifting up out of the side waist good and breathing take one more inhale and then as you exhale release the hands down to frame your front foot straighten out through that front leg come on to your left heel engage the leg here and then you can soften that left knee any amount folding in toward that left leg draw the left hip back breathe good and then rebending through your front leg coming back to your lunge plant the palm step back to downward facing dog inhale come forward to plank pose lower through chaturanga maybe knees lower and then cobra maybe upward facing dog straighten out the arms lift the thighs and knees up off the earth and then exhale back downward facing dog good holding here for just a couple breaths and then on your inhale rise up onto the toes put a big bend in your knees look forward step or lightly hop to your hands front of the mat inhale lift halfway up exhale fold in maybe step your feet hips width soften your knees a little bit and then tuck your chin roll up nice and slow one vertebrae at a time good and as you get to the top let's take a couple rolls with the shoulders so inhale the shoulders up towards your ears and then just let them drop down the back good and we'll take that a couple more times so inhale as you lift the shoulders forward up and back and then one more time inhale shoulders forward up and back and then just taking it in the other direction so back up and around back up and around and then back up and around good and then just take a moment hands to heart check in with your breath softening the shoulders maybe closing the eyes for a couple breaths here gently blinking the eyes open if they're not already open and then we'll come into chair pose so stepping the feet together utkatasana sink the weight into the heels sweep the arms up and then take the hands behind the back interlace the fingers draw the shoulders away from the ears as you lift up through the chest take a big breath in and then exhale fold over the legs letting the arms come up and over with the interlace and then release the arms down to the earth inhale come halfway up offer the heart forward and then your vinyasa step or lightly float back through chaturanga good cobra or up dog on the inhale and downward facing dog on the exhale good so coming to the right side inhale the right leg up and back exhale step your foot through between your hands come to warrior one so spin the back heel down reaching the arms forward and up and just taking a moment to arrive in virabhadrasana one so front knee over the ankle and see if you can relax the shoulders squaring the hips and shoulders toward the front of the mat and energize up through the fingertips and breathe here take two more breaths good and then start to straighten out through your front leg let the hands come behind the back now if this interlace feels like too much for you this is a nice place to have a strap you can hold opposite elbows as well and we'll just get into the shoulders so if you're interlacing we'll come there again feel free to grab a strap or even a towel would work and then start to draw the shoulders away from your ears inhale look up and lengthen and then rebend through your front leg and fold in humble warrior bringing the arms up letting the crown of the head melt down either resting the torso on the thigh or bringing the torso to the inside of that front leg allowing for a couple more breaths here keeping the feet rooting down especially the outer edge of that back foot and then root down to rise come all the way back up to warrior one release the arms back up into the sky and then straighten out through your front leg again just to get out of that right hip and then let's open it up to warrior two so you might heel toe your front foot in a little bit and then find that front heel aligned with your back arch as you come into warrior two good and then in warrior two right arm underneath the left find eagle arms so wrap it up and you can bring the backs of the hands together maybe the palms come together and then start to draw the elbows up as you sink down a little deeper into that front leg we're just opening up the back of the heart here yeah beautiful and then release it back to warrior two flip your front palm tilt back again bend that right elbow take your left hand to the top of the right elbow and pat yourself on the back good and then release everything down come back to plank pose vinyasa here or you can come right to downward facing dog if you're coming through the vinyasa inhale to lift the heart cobra or up dog exhale downward facing dog left side inhale the left leg up exhale step through warrior one spin the back heel down reach the arms up and just take a moment to arrive here let's hold for three breaths you might even close the eyes relax the shoulders and breathe inhaling exhaling two more inhale exhale last breath in breath out beautiful and then hands behind your back straighten through the front leg get out of that hip for a moment interlace with the opposite thumb on top and then draw the shoulders away again grab a strap or towel if you need it on an inhale lift up maybe the gaze lifts up and then rebend through your front leg fold in and find humble warrior three breaths here inhaling exhale inhale exhale inhale inhale and exhale good on an inhale come all the way back up warrior one start to straighten out through that front leg get out of that left hip for a moment and then open it up to warrior two so you might heal toe the left foot in a little bit and then take a moment to arrive in your warrior two we'll come into eagle arms this time left arm underneath draw the elbows away from you and then sink down a little deeper into that front leg and breathe three breaths inhaling exhale inhale exhale last breath inhale good and then release the arms back to warrior two again let's reverse the warrior this time bend through your left elbow take the right hand to the left elbow as you tilt back pat yourself on the back and then circle your hands down vinyasa or you can step right back to downward facing dog and we'll take a couple breaths here to come back to the breath notice if the breath became a little bit more shallow and invited to deepen just a bit and let's start to move with the breath so inhale the right leg up exhale step through one breath inhale warrior one reach the arms up good as you exhale straighten through the front leg bring the hands behind your back interlace inhale draw the shoulders away from the ears and then rebend through your front leg folding in humble warrior good as you inhale come all the way back up straighten out through your front leg and then open it up to warrior two and we'll take the eagle arms right arm underneath draw the elbows away beautiful and then right back to warrior two flip your front palm inhale reverse again bend your right arm take your left hand to your right elbow and then straighten through your front leg parallel your feet so you can kind of shorten your stance a little bit maybe slightly pigeon toe the feet now you can stay right here or if you want to come into full gumukasana arms reach your left arm out to the left and then spin the shoulder in so that the palm faces the wall behind you and you can take the arm behind the back i'm going to turn around here just so you can see this so you can interlace here you can grab your shirt you can grab a strap here if you'd like good and then we'll take a moment to lift up through the chest inhale and then hinging forward at the hips any amount keep the length in the spine folding in for prasarita and breathe keeping the length in the spine stretching the shoulders keep engaging your thighs to lift up on the kneecaps good and then let's release the arms down so you're in the fold still and then come halfway up and just stay low walk to a runner's lunge facing the front of the mat and then your vinyasa here or you can step right back to downward facing dog nice and we'll take that all to the other side so one breath per movement inhale the left leg exhale step through warrior one inhale good straighten through the front leg bring the hands behind the back interlace inhale draw the shoulders away from your ears exhale fold in rebend through the front leg as you come forward into humble warrior and then inhale come all the way back up warrior one straighten through your front leg and then open it up for warrior two good bring the left arm underneath eagle wrap with the arms inhale draw the elbows away from you and then come back to warrior two flip your front palm tilt back bend through the left elbow take the right hand to the left elbow straighten through your front leg parallel the feet maybe shorten the stance a little bit and again you can stay right here or reach your right arm up flip the palm to internally rotate the arm fingertips back maybe hook the fingers or grab a strap or shirt here and then inhale lift up and lengthen exhale hinge forward and fold yeah we'll take a few breaths here engaging through the legs lift up on the kneecaps to protect your knees and then breathe good release your arms back down toward the earth stay low walk to the front of the mat and then we'll come right back to down dog take the vinyasa if you want it and then lower your knees down let's take a child's pose for a couple breaths let the hips sink back to your heels resting down into your child's pose breathe as you're ready come back up to all fours find a tabletop position and then we'll bring the forearms down to the earth shoulders over elbows spread the fingers wide look between your thumbs and then straighten out the legs so tucking the toes coming into forearm plank so letting that hips come in line with your shoulder blades nice shoulder strengthener here and gaze forward just a bit feeling that one long line of energy from the crown of the head back to the heels and then you can stay here if you'd like or start to walk your feet in coming into dolphin pose keeping the shoulders over the elbows hugging the elbows in and then you can take your dolphin maybe the heels come down or just let the heels get heavy feeling that stretch in the backs of the legs pressing your chest towards your thighs you can stay here or maybe play with lifting one leg up and then you can lower it down and then maybe take the other leg up to the sky really strengthening for your shoulders i'm sure you're feeling that and then lowering that leg come back into your forearm plank just for a couple breaths draw the navel into the spine lengthen out and then take a big breath in allow the hips to lower down coming back to sphinx pose walk the hands forward let the elbows come just a bit in front of your shoulders and then drop your chin down toward your chest maybe roll the head from side to side a few times back to center breathe and then lowering down release the arms back behind you bring your forehead down to the earth and again we'll interlace the hands behind the back coming into shalabhasana so start to draw the shoulders away from your ears press into the tops of the feet and you can keep the feet connected like we did the first time as you start to peel the chest up off the earth any amount or maybe start to add the legs this time lifting the legs up as you inhale lift the shoulders you inhale lift up lengthen keep the chin tucked slightly and then lower down coming to your belly take one cheek to the earth maybe sway the hips side to side a few times good and then we'll come to another round you're welcome to stay with shalabhasana otherwise if you want to go a little deeper start to bend through your legs flex through your feet and then reach back with your hands hold on to the tops of the feet or the ankles draw the shoulders away from your ears and on an inhale start to kick your feet into your hands as you lift up good taking a couple breaths here yeah take one more big breath in and then as you exhale it's slowly release bringing your opposite cheek down to the earth releasing through the low back maybe sway the hips from side to side and let's stretch our shoulders so starting on the earth right where you are bring your left arm out to the left flatten out through your left hand and then tent your right fingertips bending through your right elbow and we're going to roll to the left hip bend your right leg and then step your toes behind you you might flatten out that foot you might stay on the ball of the right foot and just taking a few breaths here breathing into that left shoulder beautiful and then slowly come back to your belly unraveling from that side and we'll take it right to the other side straining out the right arm pressing the palm of your right hand down to the earth and then bending through the left elbow take the left fingertips to the earth start to roll to the right side coming on to the right side of your face and you can bend your left leg step the toes or the foot behind you and then find that stretch to the right shoulder sending the breath to wherever you feel this couple breaths here beautiful and then slowly come on out of there come back to your belly let's press back to child's pose hips back to the heels take a couple breaths and again you might bend the elbows bringing that prayer behind the back of the head walking the elbows forward just feeling that nice stretch in the upper arms good and then release that roll up sit back on your heels blinking the eyes open and as you're ready just coming to a second as you're ready just coming to a seated position we'll set up for jhanush or saasana variation so straightening out through the right leg and then bring the sole of your left foot down to the earth and we'll hold on to the left ankle with your right hand and then reach your left arm up and over your ear just starting to tilt toward that right leg any amount feel that stretch through the side body and breathe here just a couple breaths good and then on your inhale come all the way back up and we'll switch sides so bringing the right foot down straightening out through the left taking your left hand to the right ankle on an inhale reach your right arm up and then any amount tilting toward that left leg rooting down through your sitting bones rotating the chest up toward the ceiling breathe good and then inhale to come all the way up bring the legs out in front of you flexing through the feet sitting up high on your sitting bones inhale arms sweep up and then folding in finding a forward fold leading with the heart letting the hands fall wherever they fall on an inhale lengthen out through the spine as you exhale fold in and then inhale roll up come all the way onto your back for shavasana letting the arms come to either sides of the body palms face up relaxing through the legs and finally letting the shoulders roll gently underneath you to lift up through the heart see if you can invite this quality of relaxation into the shoulders and the entire body just letting your body get heavy let the earth come up to greet you and just rest so and slowly begin to deepen your breath letting your next inhale be a little bit longer than the last inviting any movement back in fingers toes maybe the ankles and the wrists and then keeping that ease of shavasana as making your way up to a comfortable cross-leg seated position at the front of your mat and as you come there maybe keeping the eyes closed relaxing through the shoulders hands to your heart bowing your head towards your hands gratitude thank you so much for sharing this practice with me today namaste

Comments

S
S
1 person likes this.
Love the sequence. You're so flexible! In future I would appreciate if an acknowledgement was made for those of us who might not be as flexible as you, where the pose may look rather different than the way you do it. Like, if we can't bend nowhere near as far as you, is the pose still effective? Are we still doing it ok? I feel like a bit of a schmuck without the acknowledgement. Thanks.
Sarah Beston
Hi S! Thank you so much for the thoughtful feedback and absolutely, I will consider this when teaching online going forward. For me, I am pretty naturally flexible and in my own practice I actually have to be super aware of hypermobility for the safety of my joints and body. What I like to remind my students is to try and tune in to how it feels, the feeling sense in your body, rather than what it may look like on the outside. The poses are just a way in. How do you feel when you are in the postures that I am offering in this practice? Yes, the poses are absolutely effective and as long as you are breathing and honoring your own physical boundaries you are doing great. While I love teaching online, I can also understand how some of this may be lost in translation (I wish we could practice together in person some day!). Wishing you a beautiful Sunday and feel free to reach out any time! All the best, Sarah
Eric K
Beautiful sequencing. Thank you.
Sarah Beston
Thank you so much for practicing with me Eric ! Glad you enjoyed the sequencing as well. Wishing you a wonderful week!
Lee Joan V
Thank you for that shoulder sequence, really needed it after boxing the other day.

It was a bit too fast for me, as I really wanted to feel the stretch especially during eagle arms in warrior 2, but it felt kind of rushed.

Nevertheless, great sequence. Thank you!
Sarah Beston
Hi Lee Joan, thank you for practicing with me here on Yoga Anytime and wow, boxing? Good for you! There is an option on the video to make it go a little slower if that is ever helpful. You can hover over the clock icon and lower the speed. Have a great weekend!
Nga P
1 person likes this.
thanks so much. I enjoyed your lesson and felt great after all
Sarah Beston
You're very welcome, nga! I am so happy this practice left you feeling great. Wishing you a beautiful day!
Craig Killeen
loved it, greetings from Cape Town
Sarah Beston
Hi Craig! So happy to hear and how are things in Cape Town? My friends just landed there this weekend for vacation. Hope you have a beautiful week!
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