MOAR’s Daily Dozen: DAY 7 – Prone Shoulder Opener



  1. Come to a prone position, laying belly to mat, face down. Bring your arms to a “T”.
  2. Take your left hand to the mat underneath the shoulder, elbow bent and pointing up. Push into that hand and peel your chest off the mat.
  3. Bend your left leg behind the right, placing the sole of the foot to the mat.
  4. Make sure your neck is relaxed, head resting on the mat.
  5. If this is already intense, stay as is. If you want to go deeper, bring your left hand behind your back and interlace the fingers with your right hand. Only do it this if you can reach your right hand without shifting the arm down toward your feet.
  6. Take 10 deep breaths on the right shoulder then change sides.

How it will heal you:

Shoulder Pain: Football, lacrosse, and baseball players know shoulder pain. As a yogi, I can also vouch for the frequency of shoulder injuries in yoga–a misaligned jump-back to chatturunga is one of the fastest ways to wreck your rotator cuffs. Shoulders, like hips, are a ball-in-socket joint and thus are designed to have a broad ROM (range of motion). Athletes and office bees alike experience a lot of shoulder pain because not enough attention gets paid to maintaining the flexibility of this critical joint. Increase the openness of your wrists, chest and upper back to prevent and treat discomfort. Additionally, focusing on contralateral movement (i.e. twists) will help to eliminate rigidity from the upper body.

Wrist Problems: Football, lacrosse, baseball, tennis and basketball players are incredibly susceptible to wrist injuries. Amongst others, yogis should be added to that list–just ask two of my fellow yoga teachers who went through training with me and are still modifying their Down Dog months later. In order to avoid wrist issues, it’s critical that you build strong forearms, biceps, triceps, shoulders and upper back. Like all other joints, it’s also important to maintain ROM (range of motion) and flexibility in the joint itself as well as the elbows and shoulders so that the body can maintain proper form and alignment when generating power and movement from the upper body and arms.

Neck Pain: From foundational issues in the ankles and feet to the top of the tower, the neck is a critical player in athletic endeavors and requires great care.  Having had two of the most important people in my life suffer debilitating neck breaks, I really can’t stress this one enough. Full rotation of the neck makes all the difference in any sport you play. How else are you going to see your opponent coming up behind you to try and steal the ball away? And with a fastball speeding toward you, you want to be able to turn your neck and see that baby coming!  Unfortunately, like the feet and ankles, the neck is often neglected when it comes to stretching and strength training. Avoid that pitfall with the postures in this post.

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