There is no doubt about the benefits of yoga to one’s health and well-being.

Yoga provides many advantages to the body. Health professionals often recommend it to help with sore muscles and stress management.

One of the key advantages of yoga is pain relief without medication. Yoga can greatly help ease back, neck, and shoulder pain with simple and effective poses.

The most common pain area is that of the shoulder. Yoga for the shoulder and neck area can help with this kind of pain. We know that the shoulder oftentimes gets exposed to a lot of tension and tightness brought on by everyday tasks.

Many turn to yoga for shoulder pain because it eases discomfort without the need to pop a pill or two and because it is a sustainable way to help with the pain. 

What Yoga Equipment Do You Need To Get Started?
Read Our Guide: Yoga Equipment For Beginners

Common Shoulder Injuries & Causes

Shoulder injuries are common among Americans. If you work at a workplace where lifting or intense physical labor is needed you are likely to experience shoulder injury at one point or another. Athletes also have the risk of injuries due to excessive and repetitive practices.

However, shoulder injuries are not limited to people involved in physical work. Shoulder pain can also occur even when you work from the comfort of your home. Awkward or unhealthy posture due to sitting for long hours can increase the risk for this kind of injury. Shoulder pain can also happen during everyday tasks such as cleaning your home.

Here are the most common shoulder injuries you might experience.

Shoulder Sprain

A shoulder sprain is also known as a separated shoulder or acromioclavicular joint injury. This sprain occurs when the ligaments that support and stabilize the shoulder stretch.

Direct trauma to the shoulder is one of the causes of shoulder sprain. Examples of this are trauma from a car accident or a sudden fall.

Shoulder Strain

A shoulder strain occurs when a muscle or tendon stretches for a long period. This happens to people with poor sitting posture. Shoulder strain can also happen to people who are lifting a heavy weight, for example a heavy backpack on your shoulder for a couple of hours or longer.

Athletes with repetitive movements experience this as well, especially in tennis and swimming.

Shoulder Tear

A shoulder tear injures the soft tissues that allow the joint to move with stability. The tear can be in tendons, muscles, and within the rim of tissues. A small tear may lead to a bigger tear over time if this is not treated.

People who have repetitive motions, such as athletes and workers with heavy physical tasks, are the ones at risk. A shoulder tear can also occur after a sudden fall with arms outstretched.

Benefits of Yoga for Shoulder Pain

Research shows that practicing yoga can help with chronic pain similar to how physical therapy can. Yoga poses help loosen up muscle groups and ease discomfort immediately.

Yoga is generally a safe way to ease the pain. Yoga poses for your shoulders bring benefits that your body and mind will thank you for.

Yoga alleviates tension and tightness

When you feel stress, your body accumulates tension resulting to tightness in certain parts such as your shoulders.

Yoga for shoulder pain helps release the tension and tightness you feel. Certain yoga poses can help promote flexibility and reduce stress.

Yoga relieves shoulder pain caused by chronic conditions

You may experience shoulder pain due to long-term effects of chronic pain from conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and heart diseases. Regular yoga practice increases mobility which can greatly complement the standard medical care that you may be getting. The benefits of yoga can further complement physical therapy and exercise.

Tips for Yoga Poses for Shoulders

As mentioned, yoga can bring relief for shoulder pain quickly. If you’ve ever had a good stretch while having muscle pain then you know how therapeutic yoga can be. Yoga poses for shoulder pain relief take away so many of those aching and sore, tight muscles.

The bonus is that many of these poses can be done right at your desk when you need a little brain break. You can allow a few minutes of your time to perform easy yoga poses for your shoulders. After all, your mighty shoulders deserve some rest.

Generally, anyone can do yoga regardless of age and fitness level. Beginners start with gentle yoga poses that are effective for shoulder pain relief.

If you have shoulder pain that is a result of an injury, you need to consult with a medical professional. A discussion about the scope of your practice is important before doing any yoga pose.

Warm-up for Shoulder Stretches

Like any physical activity, warm-ups are vital to prevent strains. Read more about the five warm-up stretches for your shoulders before your practice:

Arm Circles

Start this warm-up exercise with small circles with your arms. Increase the range of motion as you go. Do this while taking deep breaths. Doing five to ten breaths is a good warm-up.

Shoulder Rolls

This move can release tightness immediately and removes accumulated stress on the shoulder. Make forward and backward shoulder shrugs until you complete five to ten deep breaths.

Expert Tip: Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize your spine and shoulder. A tightened core will further strengthen your practice.

Shoulder Retraction

This involves pulling your shoulder blades together towards the spine. Retraction makes the shoulder blades stronger.

Expert Tip: Don’t jump right into yoga without warming up. Take your time. Increase the range of motion while increasing your heart rate. This will be beneficial for your yoga practice.

Overhead Motion

This exercise promotes shoulder extension and makes it much more flexible and stable. Make a couple of repetitive overhead motions to the front and the side.

Yoga Poses for Shoulder Pain

You already know that yoga can help you ease shoulder pain. You are now also equipped with warm-up tips before your practice. It’s time to grab your mat and try a few poses.

Read on to learn six yoga moves that can help reduce your sore shoulder muscles.

Thread the Needle Pose

Your shoulder joint is one of the most mobile in your body. Thread the Needle pose allows you to get the full range of motion from your shoulder joint.

Get down on your hands and knees in table pose on your mat. Keep knees and hands shoulder-width apart. Start by inhaling and raising your right hand in a stretch above your head.

Then start to exhale as you bring your arm back down and thread it under your body. As you go under your body with your arm, thread it behind your left arm and lower your right cheek to the mat. Hold there, then move the arm back to a neutral table pose. Repeat the motion on the other side.

You will know that you are staying within your range of motion if you are able to take deep breaths as you do this pose. Do this pose for five to ten deep breaths.

Expert Tip: Blankets and pillows make great props to support your shoulders and face if needed.

Yoga Pose Benefits

There are a variety of benefits to this pose including using your shoulder in a full range of motion. You also give your whole shoulder a good stretch.

Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose is a nice beginner yoga pose. This allows you a nice stretch through your back, neck, and shoulders.

Start Child’s Pose by getting on your mat on all fours. Put your toes together then slowly lower your hips down onto your legs. Once there, lower the top of your body and put your forehead on your mat.

You can add a stretch for your shoulders by stretching your arms out in front of you. You can also bend at the elbows and rest your elbows on the mat. Hold this pose for at least five deep breaths to release stress from your back and shoulders.

Yoga Pose Benefits

When in this pose, your back elongates. A Child’s Pose gives your whole spine a solid stretch. It also rolls your shoulders to get the stretch through the top part of your back and shoulders.

Eagle Pose

As a beginner, you might feel all pretzeled up with this pose but you’ll be hooked when you feel the quality stretch.

Start by raising your arms so they are perpendicular to the floor. Then bend at the elbow so your arms are in an L shape.

Cross one elbow over the other and start to twist your arms around each other (or hug your arms together). While doing this, press the inside of your palms together.

Gently lift your elbows upward and reach your fingers toward the ceiling. For an even greater stretch, roll your neck forward toward your hands. You can do this pose for five to ten deep breaths.

Yoga Pose Benefits

One of the nice benefits of this stretch is that it can be done right at your desk. Eagle Pose stretches your neck and shoulders. It also gets to the pesky spot between your shoulder blades that can be hard to stretch out.

Bridge Pose

In Bridge Pose, start by lying flat on your back. Bend your knees, hip-width apart. Then bring your heels back, near your hands.

Inhale and slowly and raise your hips upward. At the same time, you are inhaling and lifting your hips, also pushing your shoulder blades together. You can put a yoga block under the lowest point of you back to make this a supported pose.

Resist letting your chin from dropping down onto your chest so you don’t cause neck strain. You can do this pose for five to ten breaths for shoulder pain relief.

Yoga Pose Benefits

This pose allows your shoulders to stretch in another direction opening up the chest and shoulder area. Bridge Pose also stretches the back as you roll your shoulders back.

Cross-Body Shoulder Pose

Your shoulder has 4 separate joints with many muscles and tendons working together. One simple yoga stretch you can do even while sitting at your desk at work is the arms across your chest stretch.

Start by sitting up with your back straight. Take your right arm and stretch it across your chest with your arm straight and your palm facing backward. Then take your left arm and grab your right arm. Pull your arm towards your body. Hold the stretch for several seconds. Repeat this for five to ten breaths.

Repeat using the opposite arms to stretch both sides.

Yoga Pose Benefits

As you pull your arm towards you, you pull apart the shoulder blades and at the same time stretch the shoulder muscles. This stretching motion allows tension to release and stretches tired muscles.

Puppy Pose

In Puppy Pose, you start on all fours on your mat. Place your hips so that they are over your knees and your shoulders over your wrists. Point your toes so that the tops of your feet are flat on the mat.

Slowly, exhale and as you do, walk your hands out in front of you. As your hands move further out, lower your chest. Rest your head to your mat. Stretch your arms out in front of you rolling your shoulders forward.

Hold this position and take a few breaths. Then walk the hands back up to being on all-fours.

Be careful to keep your legs hip-width apart and not wider. Wider legs can put too much-added pressure on your lower back. You can repeat this for five to ten breaths.

From the Puppy Pose, you can also extend back and go into the Child’s Pose.

Yoga Pose Benefits

The benefits of Puppy Pose include a good stretch across the back and spine. This pose helps to open the shoulders and to release tension across the back of the shoulders and neck.

Props That Can Help with Shoulder Pain Relief

Yoga for your shoulders does not need grand equipment to be effective. Yet, you can use the help of a couple of props to assist in shoulder pain relief entirely.

Check out these products you can buy to help relieve shoulder pain:

Massage Gun

Long hours of exercise often result in muscle knots. If you experience shoulder pain, a massage gun helps you ease shoulder pain afterward.

A massage gun relieves muscle strain and fatigue from workouts or general shoulder pain. This handheld massage gun from Amazon promotes blood circulation. It relaxes deep tissue and releases discomfort and pain. The handy tool is lightweight and comes with storage that is easy to carry when you are on the go.

Amazon Massage Gun

If you are looking for a portable massager that is perfect for everyone, this ergonomic pocket-sized massage gun makes 3, 000 percussion per minute. It relaxes tight muscles and minimizes muscle stiffness.

Foam Roller

A foam roller is a helpful workout buddy to reduce soreness and promotes muscle repair. This extra-firm foam roller helps prevent muscle injury during your yoga practice. It is great for spinal stabilization, balance, and positioning during strengthening activities.

Amazon Foam Roller

If you want an all-in pack, this 5-in-1 Foam Roller Set from Amazon offers a complete kit for your workout. The set has a triple-zone massage roller, stick, stretch strap, massage ball, and a double lacrosse ball. All these assist in stretches for the neck, forearm, and shoulders.


After a long and tiring day, keep your shoulders at rest while you sleep. This Memory Foam Pillow from Amazon does wonders against shoulder pain. It alleviates shoulder stiffness and promotes spine alignment.

You can also check out this cervical pillow for shoulder pain relief. This soft sleeping buddy supports and aligns the head, neck, and shoulders. The pillow allows the shoulder to relax for better sleeping.

Private Yoga Classes for Shoulder Pain

We can help you get started with yoga in a safe and easy way and help you relieve shoulder pain with our online private yoga class or an in-person yoga private class in select cities.

Our private yoga classes will help you become familiar with yoga poses designed to help your particular discomfort, in this case, shoulder pain.

You see, we only work with top-tier yoga instructors that we vet extensively to ensure that you have a perfect yoga experience. After all, our mission is to bring approachable yoga to beginners to yoga everywhere.

We can help you integrate yoga into your life

The yoga poses in this article can help you relax and release tension throughout your shoulder area. Plus, practicing yoga has many other mental and physical benefits.

If your colleagues are up for it, consider trying our Yoga At Work classes.

Our classes help keep you feeling calm and provide a great stretch during your workday. Sharing classes with colleagues can give you that same feeling of personalized classes while keeping the prices similar to those you would pay at a yoga studio.

Are you ready to try yoga for shoulder pain? Book your class today or send us a message so that we can assist you in getting started.