Stiff shoulders: Try these easy yoga stretches for relief

Certain lifestyle habits and inadequate physical exercise can lead to pain in several parts of the body like the back, neck, legs, along with tightness in the shoulders. Not getting it examined and prolonging the pain can lead to headaches and increased neck issues. But did you know that some simple yoga stretches can help relieve discomfort in the shoulders?

Yoga is Love, an Instagram page, shared some such exercises that can help. We take a closer look:

Active child’s pose

This gentle yoga pose helps stretch the shoulders. It also helps release tension in the shoulders, back, and chest and alleviate anxiety and stress.

How to do it?

*Kneel on a yoga mat.
*Touch the big toes together. Spread the knees apart.
*Sit up straight. Inhale and reach the arms above the head. Exhale and bend forward, spreading the arms out in front.
*Touch the ground with the palms.
*Bring the elbows to the ground.
*Sit back, bringing the bottom of the back toward the heels.
*Feel the stretch in the back of the shoulders.
*Breathe deeply, and hold the position for one minute or longer.

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Downward dog pose

The inversion exercise is an effective strength-building pose that stretches the body and helps relieve tension in the muscles.

How to do it?

*Start on all fours with the shoulders above the wrist and hips above the knees.
*Bring the hands slightly forward to the shoulders and spread the fingers.
*Tuck the toes and lift the knees off the floor. In the upside V position, engage the quadriceps. Rotate the thighs inwards as you lift the sit bones higher. Align the ears with the upper arms. Gaze towards your navel.
*To come back, exhale and gently bend the knees and come back in the child’s pose.

Puppy pose

This cross pose between a downward dog pose and an active child’s pose is an inversion posture that helps relieve stress and anxiety. This helps release tension in the upper arms, shoulders, and neck.

How to do it?

*On your fours, keep the shoulders above the wrists and hips above the knees. Walk the hands forward a few inches and curl the toes under. While exhaling, move the butt halfway back towards the heels. Meanwhile, don’t let the elbows touch the ground.

*Hold for 30 seconds to a minute, then release the butt down onto the heels.

Dolphin pose

A shoulder opening exercise, the dolphin pose strengthens the arms and legs while toning the core muscles.

How to do it?

*Start on all the fours. While curling up the toes, exhale and lift the knees away from the floor. Meanwhile, continue to press the forearms on the mat. Straighten the knees but ensure the upper back doesn’t round. Stay between 30 seconds to a minute.

Eagle arms pose

The focus-developing pose stretches the shoulders and upper back while strengthening the hips, calves, and ankles.

How to do it?

*In the Mountain Pose or tadasana, start with the arms at the sides. Bend the knees and balance the right foot such that you are able to cross the left thigh over the right. Fix your gaze at a point in front of you. Meanwhile, ensure the left foot is behind the right calf. Extend the arms straight in front of the body. Then take the left arm under the right.
*Bend the elbows and raise the forearms perpendicular to the floor. Wrap the arms and hands, and press the palms together (or as close as you can get them).
*Hold for up to one minute, focusing on the breath and keeping the gaze fixed and soft. Unfurl the arms and legs and return to Tadasana. Repeat on the other side.

Bridge pose

This pose helps stretch the chest, neck, spine, and hips while improving blood circulation. It also stimulates the abdominal organs and lungs.

How to do it?

*Lie on the back with the knees bent and feet on the ground.
*Press the arms and feet firmly on the mat.
*While drawing the tailbone towards the pubic bone, hold the butt off the floor.
*Ensure you roll the shoulders back and underneath the body.
*Come back to the mat and straighten your legs.

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