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Can someone help me with shoulder stretches

morph9992010-07-03 17:52:02 +0000 #1
Hi. Never thought I'd be on a yoga forum but I hurt my shoulder and only way to fix it was to stretch it and do some specific exercises. I've now fixed it (I think) but I want to learn more stretches for it.

I know now how to properly stretch my legs. I never knew before how to properly stretch. I still am trying to put together a stretching routine for my shoulders like I do my legs.

So in a way, I'm doing some kind of yoga I guess. I stretch twice a day. I have to or I just get so tight and I end up pulling a muscle.

I've decided that I'm going to make this part of my routine and I want to eventually get so flexible in my legs that I can kick like a martial artist. I was thinking of even taking some martial arts classes just for fun. I have a long way to go, though but I am making small progress. I'm in my 30s. I've been stretching for almost 2 months now. In the beginning, I did only 3 or 4 stretches and now I have about 8 or 9 just on my legs and so it's a pretty comprehensive stretch.

Can someone help me find the essential shoulder stretches? Shoulder, chest, and arms basically. Because the tightness in my chest was injuring my shoulder if you can believe that. I just want to make sure that the stretches are correct and I do them right because I dont' want to re-injure my shoulder.


Willem2010-07-03 17:54:36 +0000 #2
Cool. Check out a local martial arts class. Or a class on power yoga. Then you can learn the "stretches" from the pros. If you really want to teach yourself, check out the local library. It will have books on physical fitness showing you how to stretch. But it is really fun to have a teacher and some classmates. And it keeps your shoulder out of trouble too.
core7892010-07-03 18:38:53 +0000 #3
Hi Morph999,

Welcome to the forum.Thanks for your query.

It's not all about stretching.Sometimes when we stretch a muscle this can make it tighter because of a reflex('stretch' or myotatic reflex) that causes muscles to tigthen after stretching( the brain thinks it's longer than it should be so sends an impulse to tighten after we stretch. Ever felt tighter 1 or 2 days later? This is probably the reason ,when it happens).

In my view , for most people, it's more about releasing ,specifically hyper-tonic muslces ( & improving co-ordination so that muscles work optimally together just like a super athlete), where psycho-physical tensions have either built up over time or may even have their origin in an injury at some point in your life(this can be a classic situation;perhaps an injury we sustained a long-time ago we have now well & truly forgotten about,except our body has'nt and has been storing it all along, typically as tension.Essentially- we've forgotten how to relax.Like a sort of Sensory-Motor Amnesia,except it can get a little more complicated or can be explained according other more holistic paradigms if we dig a little deeper).

The main tools of yoga are the breath & awareness in order to do this.By releasing energetic blockages the muscles then relax( to a much lower level of tonus), the way they should be.

A good therpaeutic principle for training the muscles and physical body is to work from the ground upwards,and generally teaching mobility in the joints and engaging otherwise dormant muscles using poistion in supine or floor-work, so starting with feet,ankles,knees( gently!, within normal healthy range of motion- don't force anything here),hips,waist,trunk,hands,wrists,elbows, shoulders, neck,jaw,head.Mobilising the joints basically and avoiding any load bearing positions,standing poses or arm-balances etc.Once you've done this it's prepared your body well for conisdering chest & shoulder-openers and perhaps v gentle twists and mild bakcbends.It can foten be a mistake, ,i think, to treat any area of the body in isolation.The sum is greater than the parts, after all.

I would go to a class asap so you can build up a repertoire of yogic postures/poistions (or asanas, as they are called)It's not so much which yoga pose for which tight or problematic area of the body but it's how you do them and having a knowledge of appropriate actions.Apporpiate actions are best communicated by a teacher and experienced in a class,at least to begin with..(then you can take the learning & practice at home and also by following the yogic lifestyle,good diet,good action and so on)

Get yourself to a yoga class so you can begin to learn a good foundation.Try and find an alignment based yoga such as Iyengar and many others, in the first instance at least, and go for teachers who teach at dedicated studios rather than gyms because the quailty and training is likely to be higher and more extensive.

P.S --Light pranayama, to assist opening the chest/ribcage, and yoga nidra would likely be able to help you also.
morph9992010-07-03 19:12:52 +0000 #4
yes, actually I'm sore right now. It's strange. I've been stretching for two months. I haven't even exercised lately but I'm sore.

Am I stretching too hard or something?
morph9992010-07-03 18:54:34 +0000 #5
Quote:

Originally Posted by core789



Hi Morph999,

Welcome to the forum.Thanks for your query.

It's not all about stretching.Sometimes when we stretch a muscle this can make it tighter because of a reflex('stretch' or myotatic reflex) that causes muscles to tigthen after stretching( the brain thinks it's longer than it should be so sends an impulse to tighten after we stretch. Ever felt tighter 1 or 2 days later? This is probably the reason ,when it happens).

In my view , for most people, it's more about releasing ,specifically hyper-tonic muslces ( & improving co-ordination so that muscles work optimally together just like a super athlete), where psycho-physical tensions have either built up .

I dont' know why I'm sore but my physical therapist told me that the reason I keep pulling my hamstring is because I'm not flexible. To me, that makes sense so I disagree that it's about relaxing.

If a rubber band has no give in it, it breaks.

Since I started stretching two months ago, I've had pains in my leg but it's never given completely out like it used to so I think I'm making progress.

Maybe for women, it's about relaxing because you guys are so flexible. I envy that about women sometimes.

You guys can put your legs over your head.
Willem2010-07-03 18:37:56 +0000 #6
Quote:

Originally Posted by morph999



I haven't even exercised lately but I'm sore. Am I stretching too hard or something?

Probably. Especially since you want to stretch for therapeutic reasons, I strongly recommend you to do this under expert guidance. For example, your physiotherapist. Would you fix your own teeth or rather go to the dentist?

Your physiotherapist gave you only part of the story. A rubber band can snap because it is not flexible, but it can also snap because it is not strong enough. A wise therapeutic program would address both muscle tightness and muscle strength, giving priority to the issue most needed in your body.

Pulled hamstrings and an injured shoulder are definitely signals that you should pay attention to. When you do what you always do, you will get what you always get.

And since you are on a yoga forum, you could also visit a yoga therapist or a very experienced yoga teacher for an individual session as an alternative to your PT.
core7892010-07-03 18:19:32 +0000 #7
Hi Morph99,

Sorry i did'nt issue a reply straight away.

Quote:

yes, actually I'm sore right now. It's strange. I've been stretching for two months. I haven't even exercised lately but I'm sore.

Am I stretching too hard or something?

You could try using less effort.I'm not suggessting that you are using too much effort but it's worth saying.I did it for years with yoga until i wisened up.It's the "work hard,play hard" philosophy (like from the eighties) and look where that got us, just alot of burned out people & traders..

Also you could be over-doing.

In yoga there are a couple of rules of thumb:-

1)Use least effort, that usually means by maximising awareness

2)Exhale on the doing/flexion/forward bending and exhale on releasing,extension,backebnding, that is very generally speaking though you might breathr a different way accroding to the benefits or purposes behind the intention.(sorry if that might sound a bit cryptic) of the pose or practice etc

I'm not saying I'm right.(You'll likely get a myriad of answers even from so called " experts" which i'm not btw; never always been keen on that term or even idea btw)Just a few years of studying and experiencing have shown me that there's a lot of myth-making about how the body actually works and alot of the significant issues behind alot ofmusculoskeletal scenarios.I would differ from Willem somewhat in that i think the idea that many folk need muscles strengthening is one of those myths. Most folk suffer from abnormally high muscle tonus, and less from muscle strength, unless for example get any excercise because of severe mobility issues or perhaps they are grossly obese for e.g. I think some muscle strengthening is okay but on it's own it can be quite misguided and actually lead to higher muscle tonus.This is why the prescription to exercise more often does'nt always solve our condition/situation.There is an idea that/was quite prevalent that says stretch the tight side and strengthen the opposite weak side.This does'nt really tackle the issue at it's root. The issue is often with the nervous system which has been primed to be organised a cetain way. Specifically muscle tonus is set within the sensory-motor cortex and related parts of the brain.This is the intellegent way to release muscles.And these are terms science understands.Yoga wil take it further and say that it is actually blockages in th energy body but many people don't find that helpful, perhaps even meaningless because they cannot see it.They can see a given msucle even identify it's chaacteristics but they cannot see any energy moving or around (or not moving around).

How do you do it then? - well you try to get your nervous system to move towards the parasymapthetic state who known for healing.All the strtetching and strenghtening in the world is unlikely to provide long-term resollution and cure to these kind of problems unless one is also using awareness and in classical yoga, the breath is the key to alot of that. It is the breath where our prana/energy is mainly delivered.If we can breath mindfully and steadily we can unscramble some of the jumbled-up messages being coomunicated by the brain and the nervous system as a whole.

So obviously flexibility and strength are good things but if these messages from the brain to the muscles and vice-versa are'nt get through or are conveying a poor-body image,sense of awarness then wwe need to tackle that. Some therapists outside yoga look just at muscles and bones, some look at the brain and the nervous sytem and how they interface between the former. This seems to be where one of the main divides seems to lie after researching it a little.I think the first camp can come across as misguided sometimes and fail to appreciate the dual role of mind & body and the intimacy of the relationship.(They'll see just what they can see)

By relaxing , i'm not suggessting you don't know how to relax. I'm suggessting the brain has forgotten.

You can Continue to see your physiotherapist if you feel that is helping. A number of angles always helps with these issues.

Try out a yoga class even if the ratio of women to men is much higher,don't let that put you off.And keep at it and stick with it.Practice at home and so on.

My main point in my first post was that sometimes stretching can actually make muscles tighter.And to me this sounds to be what you're experiencing. Alot of people write in here saying- look folks, i've done action X and i am getting result Y. I've been doing this for about a year now? What is going on?- opinions please.Well they've set up a behaviourr or habit that is harmful and they are obviously finding it dificult to give up.There is something another poster said here which is - sometimes the body has to literally scream at us before we get the hint and listen.What is it trying to tell us? That we should really stop whatever we're doing.At least considering altering our apporach completely- a complete turn-around.

Two months is'nt long but i would stop what you're doing and use a proven holistic system,classical yoga, with plus a few teachers/classes in order to get more familar with it..Knowing anatomy is very useful but sometimes we can get overly caught up in the anatomical side of the equation. How do i live ,diet,nutrition, stress levels ,relaxation opportunites,state of mind- these all matter too..

Yoga is a vast subject and there are many countless tools

beyond just asana or therapeutic postures. Your best start would be to go to a restorative or gentle yoga class with a "top-whack" teacher who really knows the craft of asana and has studied it for many years..1 on 1 is ideal.

When you are stretching- learn to breathe deeply and steadily into the posture.If you end up attending a class where you are moving ina and out of postures like there is no tommorow and yu end up feeling tighter after class, then this style of yoga might indeed not be for you. In that case you might have to shop around.

When i mean relaxation. I mean deep psycho-physical relaxation of an extra-ordinary, & sometimes profound, kind.

P.S-- Your physio or a yoga teacher 1-on 1 might be able to show or demonstrate simple mobilisation movements (with the breath for best results) when the arm & shoulder is not bearing a load or weight, putting the joint throigh it's normal range of motion gentle and practices to release energetic blockages using you attention,awareness, the breath and the movement. You may feel a muscle release or a joint re-align.Then that will give you the confidence to know what you are doing is actually helping.But i would'nt necessarily see stretching as a panacea for tight muscles because i don't believe it is.And i tried this for a number of years using this paradigm with less than permanent or optimally best results.

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