Yoga Therapy for the Shoulders and Upper Back

Erica Fritch
Instructor Erica Fritch
Average: 4.4 (139 votes)
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This short shoulder sequence is for everyone - yoga practitioners, office workers, weight lifters, new moms, musicians, and everyone else who uses their hands and arms throughout the day. These therapeutic exercises are not yoga poses, but will help you with your asana practice and will generally give you more space and mobility in your shoulders. Practice regularly to bring ease to your body at work and at home.

Equipment: Block
Style: Yoga Therapy, Yoga for Back Care


Ebuddy 4 years ago

Thanks for the modification - now next time I have Eagle pose in class I won't feel stupid flapping my arms :-). Started Stronglifts over the holidays, and deadlifts seem to be helping the back. Got into child's pose and got back out without pain - hurray!

GBill 4 years ago

I do weights and find that I get quite tense in my shoulders. I recently discovered this short class and have been using it after my training sessions, which has been really good. Thanks!

erinlein 5 years ago

I thought at only 11 minutes this wouldn't be enough to get me going in the morning but it did! Thanks!

I have one problem though -- I am having some pain along the right side of my spine lately, mid-back, and when I did the last position with my elbows on the foam roller (in my case), it was so tense and almost unbearable. Is there another exercise or adaptation that will help me work through this issue? I think it's from twisting around in my sleep too much lately.

Erica Fritch 5 years ago

Hi erinlein,
I'm glad you found some benefit from just a short practice. It's amazing what a little bit of movement can do for us!

As for the pain in your back, one modification I can offer is to do the movement in a standing position. I like to use the kitchen counter, and sometimes use the desk at work to get the same stretch in. It takes some of the other requirements out of it so that you can focus on the engagement you are going for and can release more fully into the stretch.
And, as always, practice, practice, practice! Have faith and keep at it. If you can add this to your day every day (and even multiple times a day when you get in a routine of using a higher, easily accessible counter) chance can happen pretty quickly!

Good luck!

erinlein 4 years ago

Thanks for your response! I took your advice and used the counter or desk at first but now I can do it on the block too :)

I have been doing this sequence often, and on days when I have to work at a desk all day even twice a day -- my shoulders and upper back are feeling a million times better than a month ago. This is a great little routine that I can always spare 10 minutes for.

Cori.pacanins 5 years ago

I am a dental assistant so frequently suffer from aches in my shoulders and back. This was my first time with this segment and I am already feeling some relief. I look forward to an ache-less future with consistent practice!

Erica Fritch 5 years ago

So glad to hear it, Cori! I realized at the dentist a few years ago that you guys so need some of these exercises I have to offer! I tried to get a class going at my dentist's office, and hoped to work with dental students in our town. I'd love to be able to work with professionals in all areas at the student level to ingrain the importance of taking care of YOU while you take care of others.
Glad to hear it hit the spot for you!

mlo2144 5 years ago

I tried this video after feeling "off" while lifting weights; both the pushing and pulling exercises. I've done this sequence about 10 times in the past month (I love that it only takes 10 minutes) and I have definitely noticed more mobility in my shoulders. Specifically, the motion feels "smooth" now.
Of note, I can't even come close to grabbing my thumbs during eagle arms, but the pose still works/feels great.

Erica Fritch 5 years ago

I'm glad you found some relief, mlo2144. I have done lots of weight lifting myself, and I found that the more i did of it, the more my shoulders and forearms need lots of stretching and opening up. I have worked with a kettle bell team locally, and boy, do they need that daily dose.
I'm glad 10 minutes is enough for you to notice a difference! It's amazing how quickly it comes. And equally amazing how quickly it goes if you stop.
Keep up the great combo of weights and yoga. You'll be glad you did!

ruth.joyce 5 years ago

I have chronic tendonitis in my shoulders and this short yoga segment for shoulder therapy is the absolute perfect way for me to get the blood flowing in my shoulders when I wake up. I go to this segment every morning right now because springtime is the worst for my shoulders. It's great that DoYogaWithMe has so many wonderful options for yoga, especially therapy and gentle yoga, for those days when you aren't up to a full practice.