My Favorite Shoulder Openers

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I've really been trying to work on my shoulder flexibility over the past few months and have definitely made some improvements. Now that I have this shoulder / upper back issue going on shoulder openers are my new favorite yoga poses.  I've been trying to figure out the best ones to stretch certain muscles and to ease the discomfort in my upper back and neck.

Here are a few of my favorites:

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Eagle Arms: Cross your right arm over your left arm, hooking right elbow into the crook of your left elbow. If you can wrap your hands around to touch palms.  Inhale lift your elbows up to shoulder height and exhale press your hands away from your face. Switch sides.IMG_7952

Thread the needle: From child's pose, thread your left arm through so your shoulder blade sits on the ground. Switch sides

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Puppy dog pose: From Child's pose walk your hands out and rest your chin or chest on the floor, hips stack over your knees. Press your chest towards the ground.

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Cat pose: Press through your hands to round your upper back and separate your shoulder blades slightly

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Downward Facing Dog: Great shoulder opener and great pose in general. To get an additional upper back stretch, press your chest towards your thighs, press all five fingers into the ground and rotate your biceps toward the front of the room.

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Dolphin Pose: Similar to downward dog but a little more intense.  Make sure your elbows are shoulder width apart

I try to do these poses for 5- 10 breaths at a time.  There are great ways to get in a little bit of yoga when you feel like you have no time.   It feels great after a long drive or a long day at a desk or laptop!

Namaste!