Let It Go With This Tension Relief Series
A sequence for tight shoulders, tense upper back and/or to prepare the upper body for warrior postures.
BY MAGAZINE EDITOR SUSAN MAIER-MOUL
Try these easy-does-it stress busting shoulder releases as a companion to the self observation exercises in Power To Choose The Life You Want and kick off a meaningful personal practice today!
Lift and drop your shoulders 5 to 10X
Soft ball pitch Let the torso of your body turn from heart open to heart forward, keep your knees soft and shift your weight from one foot to the other as you move
Inhale through your nose as your heart goes to the open position, exhale through your mouth as you pitch.
Hold your hands in front of you and move all of your fingers and your thumbs bending every knuckle as you do. Don’t hold your breath.
Punch Bunny With loose arms, make light fists and rotate your hands at the wrists. Do this slowly; after the first couple of rotations, slow down even more while reaching through the muscles in the back and front of your forearm toward the wrist.
The Big Easy With your feet shoulder width apart, bend your knees let your back round and extend your arms loosely in front of you with the backs of your hands toward each other, or with less range of motion, just turn your palms down. Exhale.
Inhale as you pull your elbows back, lift your heart up, and tuck your arms lightly at your sides. Turn your palms up when you do this as though you were holding a tray on the palm of each hand.
Repeat these two motions on the inhale and exhale of 7 – 10 breaths.
Swing and criss cross your arms in front of you at about shoulder height, changing which elbow is on top.
Spin Cycle Move out of the criss crossing into a heavy arm, empty coat sleeves motion, letting your arms relax and swing freely as you turn your torso side to side. Keep your legs relaxed so there’s no strain at the knee and shift your weight from foot to foot. Let your head turn gently with your torso.
Chopping wood with flowing breath Let this movement be easy rather than aggressive. As you inhale swing your arms up in front of you and let them bend at the elbows. You hands fall behind you.
As you exhale, bend your knees and bend your torso at the waist. Allow your arms to follow through with your elbows bent.
Inhale through the nose, exhale through your mouth.
Repeat 6 – 10x, adding a kick boxing style hara breath to the exhale if you like.
Repeat the schlumpy motion, lifting and dropping your shoulders.
Keep knees soft with your feet about shoulder width apart. Don’t arch your back – tone your low back mildly with your abdominal muscles.
Tugboat Hold your right wrist over your head with your left hand. Move it gently and in a very small motion side to side. After a few moments, take your hands in a small circle over your head.
Stop circling and lift up with one elbow toward the ceiling as you allow the other elbow to drop toward the floor.
Then go the opposite way, lifting the other elbow. When you are finished, let go of your wrist and slowly allow your arms to come down, then in front of you. Keep your knees soft.
Scouts Honor Cross the right bent arm over the left, nesting at or near the elbows. If you enjoy eagle arms (garudasana), go on to the full expression.
Breathe in your back behind your heart, in the space between your shoulder blades, and into the base of your neck.
After 2 or 3 breaths, lift your arms up and down in a small movements. Release your arms slowly. Lift and drop shoulders in the schlumpy movement before repeating this series on the other side, beginning with the the right hand holding the left wrist.
Shake out when you finish.
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© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.