Lotus Leaf posture guides
All kinds of things can contribute to pain and injury in the shoulders. One culprit is the way we habitually rest our shoulders, neck and head over the body in daily life. Most of us tend to have a slightly rounded upper back, a slightly forward head position, shoulders that roll forward a bit, and a mild collapse of the lift in the chest.
The brain learns to set a standard length for our muscles, depending on our physical habits. A western lifestyle often means we sit a lot, rounding over desks and tables.
With this movement pattern, the muscles of front of the shoulder, chest and throat develop a shortened set length. While the back of the shoulder, upper back and neck develop a longer rounded set length. This leaves the shoulder blades to wing off the back, creating a rounded hump in the upper back and potentially problematic shoulder alignment.
To counter this problem, it's helpful to strengthen certain muscles in the upper back (the rhomboids, lower trapezius, teres minor and serratus anterior). At the same time it's helpful to free up the front of the chest, by lengthening and releasing muscles of the chest and the front of the shoulder (pectoralis major and the anterior deltoid muscle).
There is one pose that does all this - Cactus Pose!
Cactus - step by step
Why practice cactus pose?
Recent shoulder injuries ~ wait until you've rested the injury before exploring cactus arms.
Chronic shoulder discomfort ~ ease into cactus pose gently and mindfully, giving yourself a soft challenge.
Never force or strain. Any time you feel a sharp pain in a joint - come straight out of the pose to avoid injury.