Yoga for Shoulder Pain or Tightness - Aura Wellness Center

Yoga for Shoulder Pain or Tightness

yoga for shoulder painBy Faye Martins

Does yoga for shoulder pain work? There are a number of Yoga poses that effectively release tension and pain in the shoulders. Many of these shoulder opening Yoga poses also help to release tension in the throat and neck areas. Our shoulders are often repositories of anxiety, anger, stress and unresolved emotions such as grief. When we hold our shoulders tensely, we are often holding our tongues as well. This emotional and muscular contraction will stagnant the free flow of energy throughout your body. Tension in the shoulders can also cause tension headaches as the muscle tightness creeps up into the neck area.


Many people blame shoulder and neck problems on hours of office work, and while that is a major cause, there are a number of reasons why people consider yoga for shoulder pain or tightness. Working at a computer or desk for several hours in a row may also create tension in the neck, arms, and shoulders. Relieving this tension, on a regular basis, will help to increase your energy, open your heart and throat chakras and support you in speaking your truth.


Shoulder Opener with a Belt

Through gentle manipulation, yoga for shoulder pain is helping.  The shoulder opener with a belt is one of the most approachable and effective ways for releasing tension in your shoulders. Before practicing this pose, grab a strap, belt or towel. Stand at the front of your Yoga mat and take a few deep breaths. Remember to inhale and exhale fully and deeply. Hold the ends of your belt or strap in each hand, approximately three feet apart. Adjust the strap according to your body stature and level of flexibility. With your next inhale, raise your arms over your head while holding the strap. Slowly extend your arms behind your head while keeping your arms straight. Only go as far as your flexibility allows on this particular day. With your next exhale, bring your arms forward and rest for a moment. Repeat two to four more times.


Threading the Needle

Come to Extended Child’s Pose on your Yoga mat with your knees apart and your arms extended out in front of you. Take a few deep breaths as you enjoy a nice stretch. To come into Threading the Needle pose, with an inhale come to your knees and raise your right hand up toward the ceiling and parallel to the wall. With your next exhale, thread your right arm under your left arm as far as you can comfortably go without strain. Keep your right palm facing the ceiling and your right arm parallel to the front of your Yoga mat. Hold for several breaths and feel the stretch all the way through your right shoulder, neck and upper back. With your next inhale, come out of the pose and rest for a moment in Balasana or Child’s Pose. Repeat on the left side.

Additional Thoughts for Teachers

The causes of tightness in the shoulder area are many. Some causes are related to old injuries that gradually come back to haunt us. In some cases of frozen shoulder, the limitation in range of motion can be sudden and chronically painful. Needless to say, a gentle sequence of warm ups and postures can do wonders, but students need to understand this is a gradual process and there are no promises. Students should avoid pushing into pain and teachers should not create an atmosphere of unrealistic expectations. Even if a teacher has a high success rate with helping students increase range of motion, expectations should be restrained, but painless gains should be praised. The point is that students often push when we are not present and they should be informed that pushing can have severe consequences. Yoga for shoulder pain is a viable solution, but students need to understand the underlying concept of gentle manipulation.


© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

To see our selection of Yoga teacher training courses, please visit the following link.

Click here too see our online Yoga Nidra teacher training course.

Are you an experienced teacher looking for YACEP credits or continuing education?

Subscribe to Our Newsletter for Special Discounts and New Products

Related Resources

Healing Yoga: Proven Postures to Treat Twenty Common Ailments? from Backache to Bone Loss, Shoulder Pain to Bunions, and More

Yoga Therapy for Arthritis


52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen your Practice

by Rina Jakubowicz.


A Relaxing Way to De-stress, Re-energize, and Find Balance

by: Gail Boorstein Grossman.


by B.K.S. Iyengar

TEACHING YOGA: Essential Foundations and Techniques

By Mark Stephens

R.C. Manske, D. Prohaska
Diagnosis and management of adhesive capsulitis
Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med, 1 (2008), pp. 180-189

I. Morén-Hybbinette, U.S.B. Moritz
The clinical picture of the painful diabetic shoulder–natural history, social consequences and analysis of concomitant hand syndrome
Acta Med Scand, 221 (1987), pp. 73-82

T.D. Bunker
Frozen shoulder: unravelling the enigma
Ann R Coll Surg Engl, 79 (1997), pp. 210-213

K.L. Boyle-Walker, D.L. Gabard, E.M.V. Bietsch, RB
A profile of patients with adhesive capsulitis
J Hand Ther, 10 (1997), p. 9268913

Y. Arai, K. Shimo, M. Inoue, H. Sakurai, Y. Ohmichi, T. Matsubara, et al.
Integration of a kampo medicine , nijutsuto , and western medical treatment in the treatment of long-term frozen shoulder refractory to western medical Treatment : a case series
J Evid Based Complement Altern Med, 20 (2015), pp. 157-161, 10.1177/2156587214568346

I. Kwon, J. Oh, T. Kim
Effects of 12 Weeks of yoga program in middle aged women with frozen shoulder
Med Sci Sports Exerc, 1 (2018), pp. 242-243

K. Roach, E. Budiman-Mak, N. Songsiridej, Y. Lertratanakul
Development of a shoulder pain and disability index
Arthritis Care Res, 4 (1991), pp. 143-149

A. Vijayaraghava, V. Doreswamy, O.S. Narasipur, R. Kunnavil, N. Srinivasamurthy
Effect of yoga practice on levels of inflammatory markers after moderate and strenuous exercise
J Clin Diagn Res, 9 (2015), pp. CC08-CC12, 10.7860/JCDR/2015/12851.6021

S. Moonaz, C. Bingham, L. Wissow, S. Bartlett
Yoga in sedentary adults with arthritis: effects of a randomized controlled pragmatic trial
J Rheumatol, 42 (2015), pp. 1194-1202

N. Sharma, S.K. Chauhan, A. Kumar
Effect of yogic asana on Adhesive capsulitis ( frozen shoulder ) to increasing the internal rotation
Int J Phys E Ducation, Sport Heal, 3 (2016), pp. 192-195

Feuerstein G. Towards a definition of yoga therapy. 2000; 10:5-10

What is the Purpose of Yoga Today?

How Yoga Teachers Can Prevent Student Injuries


5 thoughts on “Yoga for Shoulder Pain or Tightness”

  1. Shoulder-Opener with a Belt is one of the most approachable and effective ways for releasing tension in your shoulders. So Yoga poses are very helpful for shoulders.

Leave a Comment

Your Cart