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yoga postures for shoulder pain

9 Yoga Postures That Immediately Relieve Shoulder Pain

Shoulder pressure’s no joke. Considering that most of us sit at a desk all day, slumped over and stressed out, our shoulders become rife with tension and begging for a rub down. Fortunately you don’t need to wait for a masseuse because we’ve detailed the 9 best yoga postures for shoulders so you can use them today for an immediate hit of relief.  

1. Child’s Pose

childs pose yoga

This pose is an ideal choice for those just starting in yoga. It’s easy to perform, elongates the spine and opens your shoulders to release stress and knots. By relaxing on the floor in a forward position with your arms extended, you allow your shoulders to relax while calming your spirit and grounding yourself.

To get the most shoulder relief from this pose, ensure that your shoulders aren’t edging up towards your ears. Instead, keep them down and back, allowing them to stretch the muscles and remove pressure. Hold the pose for a few minutes then take a breath and release.

2. Rabbit Pose

Rabbit pose is a forced stretch that’s incredible at releasing shoulder pain. To perform the pose, get on all fours on your yoga mat. From there, bend forward, place your forehead on the mat and then reach directly back and grab your heels.

Once you have your feet, pull yourself by your heels while pushing your shoulder blades up at the same time. This action of push-pull helps elongate the muscles, break up scar tissue and release knots stored in the shoulders that could be causing pain.

3. Thread The Needle

Thread the needle’s one of my favorite poses. I get a lot of shoulder tension in the outsides of my shoulders which can be hard to release. With that said, thread the needle is one of my go-to poses to hit those hard spots.

To perform this pose, get down on all fours on your mat with your hands and knees approximately hip and shoulder distance apart. Then bring your left arm across your body and under your right arm at a 90 degree angle and place your cheek on the mat. You should feel a good stretch your outer left shoulder. Repeat this on both sides and experience the relief.

4. Eagle Pose

Eagle is a simple pose but one that can reveal how flexible your shoulders actually are (or aren’t). I remember the first time I tried this pose; I wasn’t even close to locking my hands together. But with practice, now I’ve got it down and feel much less tension in my shoulders.

To perform this pose, hook one elbow under the other and try to lock your fingers together. Focus on keeping your shoulders down and away from your ears while raising your elbows higher to increase the stretch. This pose can be performed either sitting or standing.

5. Hands Over Head With Forward Bend 

forward bend pose

Hands over head is one you’ve probably done before and didn’t even realize it was a yoga pose. To perform this pose, reach your hands behind your back and weave your fingers together. Now take a wide stance and bend forward by hinging at the hips.

Once you’re bent forward, raise your hands up towards the ceiling keeping aware of any injuries you may have. This position can be intense on shoulders and especially for those with rotator cuff injuries so be careful and move slowly.

6. Cow Face Arms  

Cow face can be performed either sitting or standing. To get into the pose, reach one arm directly up above your head with your palm facing the back wall.

Reach your opposite arm behind you placing the back of your hand in the center of you back. At the same time, take your raised arm and bend at the elbow to lower your hand so it meets the other. Bring your hands as close as you can to each other by either locking fingers or using a strap to increase the stretch. Hold this for a few breaths and then release and repeat on the other side.

7. Reverse Prayer


Picture the praying hands that you see in the popular emoji and now, do that except behind your back. To performs this pose, sit on your heels on your yoga mat. Then take both arms and reach them behind your back until your hands meet each other. Now press your palms together with your fingers pointing up in a prayer position.

Hold the pose for a minute or so and then release. This pose can also be challenging so if you can’t press your palms together, don’t force it. Just start slow and work your way up over time.

8. Bow Pose

bow pose

Bow pose is a challenging pose but one that, once mastered, will have your shoulders completely loose and relaxed. To perform this pose, begin on your belly centered on your mat. Bend at the knees and bring your feet towards your head. Then reach back with your arms and grab your ankles.

You should now resemble the bow on top of a birthday present. Hold it for a few breaths and then release.

9. Ear to Neck Shoulder Rolls

This is one you can feel comfortable doing at your desk without drawing attention. To perform this move, sit up straight on your mat or in your chair. Bring your right ear to your right shoulder and reach up with your right arm to grab your head and apply gentle downward pressure. Hold the pose for a few breaths and then repeat on the other side. 

Our friend Joy does these on a regular basis and they’ve helped her tremendously.


Repeat these 9 poses for shoulder pain once a day and you’ll feel relief in no time. Additionally, you’ll likely begin sitting up straighter in your chair and catching shoulder pain early on so you can immediately stretch and release it. Basically, this will bring awareness to your body throughout the day and help you catch shoulder pain when or before it starts so you don’t have the buildup of knots and pain that takes so many of us out of the game.