Shoulder and arm stretches

These are a series of  still postures and movements, to loosen and stretch the tight muscles from the fingers to the shoulders.

Still postures

Hold each of the postures for 3 sets (1). Don’t hold the body rigid. Allow it to respond to the breathing. While breathing in, let your chest arch forward and while breathing out, arch backward. Allow your shoulders and arms to move, as the body flexes. Keep your eyes closed. Focus your mind on the stretching sensations and breathing.

Arms straight

  • Raise the arms and hold them straight up, as though you are trying to touch the ceiling. The upper arms should touch the respective ears.  As you breathe in, allow your body to elongate upward, the tips of fingers moving up by about an inch and as you breathe out, come down to the starting position.
  • Stretch the arms sideways, holding them level. Both the arms should be in one imaginary straight line, passing through the shoulders.
  • Stretch the arms back, palms up, holding them straight and level.
  • Stretch the arms forward, palms down, keeping them straight and level.
  • Stretch one arm forward and the other backward. Pretend that the fingers are trying to touch an object ahead of them and stretch as much as you can. Both arms should be straight and level.
  • Reverse the positions of the forward and backward arms.
  • Raise the arms straight up and interlace your fingers with the palms up. The sides of upper arms should contact the respective ears. Tilt the head up, looking at the fingers.

Arms bent at the elbows

  • Stretch the arms sideways, palms up. Bend at the elbows and touch the respective shoulders with the tips of the middle fingers.  The upper arms should be level.
  • Stretch the arms forward. Bend at the elbows and touch the respective shoulders with the tips of the middle fingers.  The upper arms should be level.
  • Stretch the arms up. Bend at the elbows and touch the respective shoulders with the tips of the middle fingers.  The elbows should point at the ceiling.
  • Clasp the wrist of right hand with the left hand behind the back. Swing the elbows back, till they are level with the body. Reverse the hand positions.
  • Clasp the left shoulder with the right hand and right shoulder with the left.  Reverse the hand positions.
  • Place both palms behind the head and interlace the fingers. The elbows should point sideways.
Movements

Practice these movements till you complete 3 sets (1). Match each movement with breathing wherever mentioned.

  • Stretch the arms forward, palms down. Bend the thumbs in. Breathing in, squeeze them as hard as you can. Release the thumbs suddenly, bending all the fingers back while breathing out through the mouth, with a ‘haa’.
  • Put all the fingers together. While breathing in, bend the palm upward at the wrist, facing away from you. While breathing out suddenly with a ‘has’, flop them down, relaxed.
  • Make a fist with the thumb in. Rotate the fist clockwise. Then rotate anti-clockwise.
  • Hold the arms straight ahead, palms up. Breathing out, bend them at the elbows, and touch the respective shoulders with the tips of the middle fingers.  While breathing in, straighten them back to the starting position.
  • Touch the respective shoulders with the tips of the middle fingers. Keeping them in contact, rotate the elbows in the widest circle, clockwise. Match the upward movement with the in-breath and downward movement with the out-breath. Then rotate anti-clockwise, similarly.

(1) One set is 3 breaths

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Parent page: ‘Extended practices – sitting on the bed

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