FIVE SHOULDER STRETCHES TO RELEASE STRESS
Simple stretches don’t have to be a big deal! Providing relief to the shoulders (where many of us hold our stress) can be done in these five simple poses.
No props are needed and these stretches can be done from the office chair, home, or even while relaxing in the shower.
Either rolling one shoulder in a circular motion at a time, or rolling both shoulders, this is a timeless and effective way to bring movement into the shoulders. Doing this throughout the day from your desk, the car, standing in line at the store – or watching tv – can improve overall posture.
- Gaze is forward.
- Shoulders behind the ears and sit up tall.
- As shoulders roll up to the ears, take a steady inhale in through the nose.
- As shoulders roll down the back, take a steady and gentle exhale through the nose.
- Repeat 10 times before reversing the direction of the circle
Benefits: Increases range of motion in the shoulders. Releases tension and increases blood flow and oxygen circulation.
Pat Yourself on the Back
It sounds so simple, but many of us have not done this literally – in months or even years!
- Sit up tall or stand tall. Gaze forward. Roll the shoulders back behind the ears.
- Reach the right arm high to the sky (keep the shoulder ‘plugged in’ to the socket!).
- Bend at the elbow, gaze forward, spread fingers wide and pat your back about 10 times.
- Repeat with the left hand.
Benefits: Releases tension, increases flexibility, stimulates the mind, increases blood flow to shoulders and upper back.
Hands Behind the Back
This is considered a bind in yoga. Feel free to use a hand or dish towel if it causes discomfort to interlace the hands behind the low back.
- Sit up tall or stand tall. Gaze forward.
- Roll shoulders back behind the ears to create space across the chest and rotate the shoulders back.
- Interlace the fingers behind the back. Right thumb on top of left.
- Pull knuckles toward the ground. Take 5 deep and steady breaths.
- Repeat with the left thumb on top.
Benefits: Improves flexibility and posture. De-stresses shoulders by releasing toxins that build in the shoulders and neck.
Hand to Face – Ear to Shoulder
Tension from the shoulders can creep into the neck and cause all sorts of discomfort, along with impacting the range of motion in the neck. This can also lead to headaches and increased shoulder tension.
- Sit up tall. Gaze forward.
- Inhale and lift your right arm to the sky (keep the shoulder plugged into the shoulder socket).
- Gently reach for the left side of the face.
- Exhale softly through the nose and guide the right ear toward the right shoulder. Keep the right shoulder relaxed. Take 3 steady inhales and 3 steady exhales through the nose.
- Repeat on the left side.
Benefits: Reduce stress. Increase mobility in the neck. Releases toxins from neck and shoulders while boosting blood flow to muscle groups.
Arm Across the Chest
This is a classic stretch that has incredible benefits. Extending one arm at a time across the chest (be sure to keep the shoulder rolling down and away from the ear) is a way to relieve the shoulder from the stress of living everyday life.
- Gaze forward. Roll the shoulders back.
- Reach right arm across chest and gently scoop up into the bend of the left elbow.
- Keep your right shoulder relaxed.
- Take 3 steady inhales and 3 steady exhales through the nose.
- Repeat on the left side.
Benefits: Increases flexibility of shoulder. Builds strength and improves posture.