Restorative Sequence: Shoulder Opening Class

One of the most creative and challenging parts of teaching yoga is creating sequences tailored to specific needs or purposes.  For example, my grandmother recently underwent knee surgery for a torn meniscus and I’ve been able to help her with her recovery through a carefully designed restorative knee sequence.

I thought I’d post an example of such a sequence. Here, I’ve compiled a helpful set of poses to those with shoulder injuries or soreness. The poses can be taken more gently or more intensely, depending solely on you. Whether you are ready to move on from physical therapy, or simply looking to open up your shoulders in your practice, this sequence will work for you.

As always, and with more serious injuries, consult a physician before pursuing yoga, both in a group setting or on your own!


Here we see my best friend’s one-year old in Tiny Photobomber pose

Shoulder Opening Sequence

  1. Table top position (hands and knees); shoot arm under one side for shoulder stretch.
  2. Cat/Cow (3-5 times, inhale on Cow and exhale into Cat)
  3. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Muka Savnasana)–> Shift forward into plank (3-5 times)
  4. Mountain pose (Tadasana) –> Reach arms up on inhale, clasp hands, slight backbend.
  5. Standing Forward bend (Uttanasana; Use strap if necessary): Clasp hands behind back, bring up overhead. With every exhale, bring arms further over. (3-5 breaths)
  7. Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II) –> Exalted Warrior (Reverse Warrior)
  8. Extended Side Angle (Uttitha Parsvakonasana)
  9. Triangle pose (Uttitha Trikonasana)
  10. VINYASA: repeat on other side.
  11. Eagle pose (Garudasana)
  12. Reverse Plank (Purvotanasana) (3-5 breaths)
  13. Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) (2-3 times, 3-5 breaths; with time and strength, Wheel)
  14. Supported Shoulder stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
  15. Fish pose (Matsyasana)
  16. Savasana (Final Resting/Corpse pose; at least 5 minutes)

Usage note: if warming up/cooling down after a work-out, use 1-5 for warm-up stretch and 11-15 for cool-down stretch.

Namaste 🙂


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