Yoga Therapy: Sequence for Chronic Shoulder Instability (75mins)

Client profile:
– Male, 26 years old, fit and generally healthy, rest heart rate 48, sculls daily
– Spent most of late teens and early twenties in competitive canoeing and dragon boating
– Injured shoulder during weight training exercise
– Tight lower body, chest, shoulders and neck
– Weak lumbar but good rotation

– A persistent sensation of the shoulder feeling loose, slipping in and out of the joint, or just “hanging there”
– Repeated instances of the shoulder giving out
– Sometimes followed by pain
– Particularly when raising arms overhead 

Objective of yoga therapy sequence
– Stretch, strengthen, stabilise! (but careful not to do TOO much stretching as ligaments possible already over stretched)
– General muladhara to crown chakra sequence but focusing on:
– Strengthening core, lumbar, hip flexor and quad muscles to share load of resistance during sculling
– To prevent dislocation of humeral head, STRENGTHEN:

– Rotator cuff/shoulder stabilisers (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, subscapularis): Focus on external, outward rotation of the shoulder followed by isometric contraction to strengthen rotator cuff muscles
– Shoulder girdle (Pectoralis minor, serratus anterior, subclavius, levator scapula, rhomboids, trapezius): Isometric contractions especially during abduction/adduction
– Deltoids

STRETCH: anterior deltoid, pectoralis major/minor, serrator anterior (chest opening)


Warm up


Bhastrika with shoulder shrug

Spinal balance with curl

Lunge jumps

Forearm Plank + Scaupla Protract/retract push up

Plank on ball to work shoulder and core stabilisers more

Chest Opening/Shoulder Strengthening Asana

Surya Namaskara A & B*

– bring awareness to external rotation of arms to strengthen rotator cuff in up dog

*NO down dog, replace with plank, push ups, side plank

Padangustasana (squeeze shoulder blades!)


Parivritta Trikonasana


Prasaritta padottanasa (lenthen spine)

Warrior 2

Side Angle + bind (open shoulders)



Janu Sirsasana

puvottanasana x3

Bicycle crunches (Bent & straight leg variations)

Toe Taps with Ankle weights

Supine twist

Cobra with interlocked hands to back

Super man – swim arms back to locust


Wind releasing rock


Bridge with chair

Halasana with chair



Nidra –  Pranayama

Nidra (focus on anahata chakra for shoulders, healing light)

Anuloma Viloma


– Hui Yan



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