Yoga for shoulder mobility

As I started my yoga journey with YTT 200 hrs course , I was excited , elated and full of enthusiasm. A total beginner but great passion and willingness to incorporate yoga into my life.

But to my surprise, when I attended my first two classes and after practicing a few asanas I had acute pain in my shoulders and couldn’t move them even a little for few days, hence discovering my shoulder immobility. I could not bring my arms over my head and realized that I have tight shoulders.

In our busy lives where we spend most of our time sitting in front of the computer and at home lying on bed fiddling with our phones, never we realize what are we doing to our body.

When your shoulders are tight, it is often related to stiffness and tension in the upper back and neck. In general, our shoulder is a highly mobile structure that allows us to place the hand in nearly any position. When we talk about the shoulder joint we are talking majorly about the coming together of two bones, the scapula (the shoulder blade) and the humerus (the upper arm bone) .

All movements in anatomy are described as if they begin in anatomical position(AP) which is a person standing with palms facing forward.

Movements of the shoulder joint (glenohumeral joint) are:

Flexion (forward)

Extension (return to AP)

Abduction (to the side)

Adduction (return to AP)

Rotation (twisting along the axis of humerus)

Circumduction (combination movements)

For healthy shoulder function, we need a balance between stability and mobility. We need sufficient stability of the scapula to create a stable base of movement for the shoulder joint and the rest of the arm.


Start by bringing your right arm straight up over your head.

Bend your right elbow and place your right arm on the back of your neck with your fingers pointing towards your feet.

Using your left hand reach down behind your back and rest the back of your hand on the spine.

Without straining. Bring the right hand down your neck and left hand up your spine.

Once you have reached as far as you can, measure the distance between your fingers.

Perform the test on the opposite shoulder.

Based on the test results, your shoulder range of motion is:

Excellent: when your fingers overlap

Good: when your fingers touch

Average: fingers are less than two inches apart

Poor: fingers are more than two inches apart.

So tight shoulders ? No worries, there are many yoga poses that help open up your chest and stretch your neck and shoulders. With the help of yoga I have improved my shoulder mobility to a great extent and would like to share with you all few asanas pertaining to this area.

  1. Extended puppy pose
  2. Thread the needle
  3. Dolphin
  4. Side plank
  5. Locust
  6. Bridge
  7. Cow face pose
  8. Camel pose
  9. Eagle pose
  10. Bow pose