Recently, one of my students discovered how tight her left shoulder was while I was teaching her the leg stretch series and practicing Yoga Tune Up® Leg Stretch #3.  Although this pose focuses on the lumbar twist, it is also a deep shoulder and chest opener. I could see that she was intrigued by the discovery that her left shoulder couldn’t get as close to the floor as her right shoulder. This woman is a Jungian analyst and felt that there was more to see inside of her tightness then just muscle resistance, so she was thoughtfully relishing her exploration. I suggested that she begins to practice this pose daily for one week; holding each side for two minutes to see what might change in her body.

After one week of practicing this way she was thrilled to show me her improvement: her shoulder was getting down to the ground! She was so happy to tell me that for the first time she could blow-dry her hair without her arm hurting! Her four minute home practice made a huge difference for her. She has not only eliminated her arm pain while blow-drying her hair, she is now enjoying greater ease in her sitting twists as well as her shoulders are gaining more flexibility.

Yoga Tune Up® Leg Stretch #3 benefits the well-used weight bearing hip joints as well as the chest and shoulders. For most students who begin yoga later in life, it is the improvement of simple daily activities that younger people and experienced yoga students take for granted, that restores confidence and cultivates inspiration for continuing practice.

For my student it was the ease of using a hair blower without arm pain.  For others it might be getting in and out of a car or a chair. I have students who are so happy to be able to stand for longer periods of time while working, cooking, or doing chores as a result of a consistent, but simple home practice. Confidence grows and replaces insecurity because they simply feel better.  Excited and inspired, they no longer assume that they will “just have to live with this pain” and they’ll want to explore with greater confidence this wonderful art of yoga.  Yoga Tune Up® gives organized options offering seniors renewed vision of their body while enjoying more freedom from daily pain and fatigue in only four minutes!

You’ll find Leg Stretch #3 in the 10 Minute Lower Back Quickfix Video which includes a number of other great exercises for Lower Back pain relief. I look forward to hearing how it helps you!

Learn about our lower back pain solutions.

Watch our Free 5-Minute Quickfix: Low Back Video

Read our post about relieving lower back pain.

Shelley Piser

Shelley Piser has been teaching yoga since 1972. Her teaching and studies have taken her to Australia, Europe, and India. Living, studying and teaching at a Zen Buddhist monastery for a year in Upstate New York, she practiced intensive meditation while teaching yoga to visitors and students. She has completed 3 teacher's courses, and holds advanced certificates from The Ohashi School of Shiatsu and Jin Shin Jyutsu acupressure. Shelley's teaching style is inspired by 30 years of extensive study of Hatha yoga in the Iyengar tradition, Zen Buddhism and meditation as well as her deep understanding in the art of Japanese healing.

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Tina Broome

Oh wow, yes and yes! It is funny to me that when I take the time to do the work, I get to experience the positive benefits! Sounds silly, but it still surprises me that I can help heal my body (or at least mitigate the pain). And I, too, delight in moving through my daily routine with increased measure of relief.

Kevin Nguyen

I just love this leg stretch #3, especially with the close chain on both legs since it gives me a feedback that allows my lumbar to relax and start to release from tension and tightness.

Heather Lindsay

I feel so very lucky that our entire day of YTU training revolved around the leg stretches and hands on assists in these postures. For those that haven’t taken a Yoga Tune Up class, I highly recommend you search out a certified teacher and get some of these amazing hands on adjustments. They are intelligent and healing.


Adding the variations of open chain and closed chain in the leg stretch series can result in even greater benefit and opening in the hip and shoulder. Next time you practice, find a wall, or better yet, a corner, and plant each foot firmly into the surface. Repeat the series open chain – without support, and compare the experience in your body.

annelie alexander

The pectoralis stretch in leg stretch #3 is the rewarding part of this pose for me. I can’t get both shoulders down on the floor either but the nice sensation of stretch in my upper body takes away some of the not so pleasant stretch of my gluteus medius in my lower body. Just have to keep working on it since I belong to the group of people that starting practicing yoga on a regular basis right before the age of 35.

Cathy Favelle

I’ve done similar poses before but not the YTU versions….WHAT A DIFFERENCE! I’ll be adding leg stretch 1, 2 and 3 to my regular daily practice….and instead of holding for only 3-5 breaths and moving on I’m going to go on an exploration with these deeper holds. Also love the pranayama cues that help you focus and relax into these poses as your body reveals itself!

Karen Hsu

I think taking even a few minutes out of a busy day to do a couple of stretches or poses is a great and completely underrated activity at any age. So often we set our minds on an all-or-none attitude towards health when really it is a long-term process. I try to take at least 5-10 minutes every day to stretch or roll out on my YTU balls and it makes such a difference, not just physically, but also in terms of my mindset. And I think this blog also points out the importance of giving our bodies credit. If… Read more »


It would be fascinating to study how a regular YTU practice benefits people over the age of 60 as compared to other forms of exercise and no regular exercise at all. Also, interesting would be whether the YTU approach, which uses every pose as an assessment tool, and with it’s grounding in physical therapy/anatomy, would be more effective at recruiting older adults who have never done yoga to try yoga – or at least Yoga Tune Up. I have seen what decades of no exercise does to a body at 80, it traps a lively mind and a good heart… Read more »

Yvette Jain

I will have to try this on one of my clients. She complains of lower back pain and tightness in the shoulders. Sounds like this exercise will do her a lot of good. Thanks!

Danielle Walsh

Home exercise is so important in the day to day rush of our lives and along with importnace of taking care of oneself the results in time do show which makes the practice day to day even more rewarding especially when you can do it in the comfort of your own home before your day begins.


I’ve a range of people from middle-age through to senior at some of the classes I teach. We’ve explored doing the leg stretches with the other leg bent as needed (similar to the 1/2 happy baby minvini), and progressing to straight legs individually. Everyone loves the pose and is willing to linger in leg stretch #3 to get that spinal twist and hip release. We’ve used Bridge Lifts and Cannonballs to start off and get the core in motion, then on to 1/2 Happy Baby minvini and then the Leg Stretch series. Lots of fun.

Tracy Crooks

I work with hair stylists and spa techs everyday. I am inspired and excited to share this to help them relieve shoulder pain and gain strength and flexibility in the upper body .As well as build the strength and flexibility in the spine and lower body to assist standing for long periods of time in the same postion. Yoga Tune Up will help them help themselves to live better

tracy rooks

I work with hair stylists and spa techs everyday. I am inspired and excited to share this to help them relieve shoulder pain and gain strength and flexibility in the upper body .As well as build the strength and flexibility in the spine and lower body to assist standing for long periods of time in the same postion. Yoga Tune Up will help them help themselves to live better

Eva Berswick

This is so true, I have started with yoga about 3 years ago due to stress, and of course the physical manifestation of it. It took me a while to work through all the physical difficulties my thightnes brought on, since I had a life time of tension. Regular practice and listening to your body is the key. I wish I’ve learned about this a long time ago.


I do this stretch after I run. Actually, I do the entire leg stretch series, #1, #2 & #3!… Roll out before the run, Leg Stretch series after the run. This routine has been a life changer!


My husband’s grandfather started exercising at age 80 to address age related changes in the body. Since he began, he has started to thaw a long frozen shoulder and he can now reach up to the top shelf in the kitchen to grab a drinking class! It’s inspiring to see that change can happen at any age.