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.

MOAR’s Daily Dozen: 12 Yoga Poses for Post-Athletic Recovery to Do Every Day

Over the next 12 days, I am going to walk you through my Daily Dozen Yoga Poses for Post-Athletic Recovery.  Work on each pose for a few minutes each day and at the end of the 12 days try stringing them together, holding 10 breaths per side (if applicable). The whole sequence should take you between 20-25 minutes. My suggestion? Do it while watching an episode of Modern Family or Arrested Development and make it a happy ritual rather than a chore.

Wide Legged Forward Fold

MOAR’s Daily Dozen:

  1. Hero’s Pose
  2. High Plank w/ Flipped Hands
  3. Dolphin
  4. Wide-Legged Forward Fold
  5. Low Lunge w/ Twist
  6. Half Split
  7. Prone Shoulder Opener
  8. Plow
  9. Half Pigeon
  10.  Seated Spinal Twist
  11. Reclining Figure-4
  12. Reclining Shoelace

These postures were specifically selected to help fortify your body against the top ten sports-related injuries, which are in no particular order…

  1. Achilles tendonitis
  2. Plantar fasciitis
  3. Ankle sprains
  4. Wrist problems
  5. Shoulder pain
  6. Hamstring pulls
  7. Hip pain
  8. Knee injuries
  9. Lower back strain
  10.  Neck strain

If you lead an active lifestyle, chances are you have dealt with at least half of that list. The best way to prevent these common sports-related injuries is to work on increasing your flexibility and ROM (range of motion) on a daily basis. We are constantly stressing our muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons and most of us barely do two minutes of stretching post-physical activity, let alone a solid 20 minutes.

Check back every day for a new posture how-to and learn about the different injuries it will help you prevent and treat. At the end of the 12 days, I encourage you to come back to this post and try the entire sequence in succession. If you can work these stretches into your routine three to five days a week, you’ll be well on your way to a flexible, strong and injury-free body.

As always, I welcome your feedback and would love to hear what you think!