Today’s sequence includes two of my favourite poses to remedy tight shoulders. To release tension in the body you need both to relax and stretch the tight muscles, and also to strengthen the muscles which help them to stay relaxed and not just clench up again. Shoulder Shrugs takes care of the first of these goals, and Birdwing takes care of the second. Add in Elbow to Knee to build support for your spine, and Horse to bring activation and sparkling energy into your legs, and you’re onto a winner!
Do each pose for five to eight breaths (or five to eight breaths on each side, if it’s asymmetrical). Do five to eight rounds of abs.
Never stretch into pain. Take care of your body. If you’re pregnant then skip the abs exercise and don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right.
Take three deep breaths, focussing on the sensation of breathing.
Gentle stretch: Shoulder Shrugs
You can do these standing or sitting.
Abs exercise: Elbow to Knee
Something zingy: Horse with Birdwing
For Horse, have your feet about three feet apart. Turn toes out a little, then bend your knees as deeply as you can. Stack the back of your skull above the back of your hips. Tuck your tailbone.
The video below shows how to do Birdwing, from 2’07”. (The rest of the video has other fantastic exercises to improve posture and reduce tension in the shoulders - you can have a look if you have time!)
Final relaxation: Lie on your back in a warm place for at least a minute and let tension drain from your body.