This series of poses is designed to ease upper back and shoulder pain. If your upper back and shoulders are tight, you can try starting each day with this sequence. Transition super carefully between the postures so that you don’t put unnecessary weight through your shoulders. You can save this “quick guide” to your phone to use as reference.
YOGA SEQUENCE FOR UPPER BACK AND SHOULDER PAIN
Begin in Extended Child’s pose, for a few breaths, to relax your body and quiet your mind. Take a deep breath in, then exhale into Cat, inhale into Cow and exhale back to Child’s pose. Repeat this sequence a 4-6 times, to loosen up your upper back and shoulders. Move with your breath.
Walk your fingertips forwards to the top of the mat and pull your hips back in Puppy pose. Stay here for 5-10 breaths. I like to move from side to side to give my shoulders a good stretch. Then move into Thread-The-Needle pose, to bring a twist into the thoracic spine (mid back) as this can help to alleviate shoulder pain. Hold for at least 3 breaths on each side—but linger as long as you need to.
Bring yourself forward and lower down to the mat for Baby Locust. This pose strengthens the mid back, which can help to ease pain in the neck and shoulders. You can hold the pose for 3-5 breaths or lift and lower 3-5 times—moving with your breath. It may also feel nice to look from side to side when your head is raised.
Then come down onto your back for Bridge pose. Opening up the chest can also help to ease upper back and shoulder pain. Roll your shoulders underneath you, interlace your fingers, straighten your arms, press your little fingers into the mat and lift your chest up and back to get the most effective stretch.
Finish in Reclining Spinal Twist. You don’t have to bring your knees all the way down but make sure that both shoulders stay on the mat and try to look all the way to the side to release tension in your neck.