Many seniors have very limited shoulder movement, and chronic neck tension. When I do yoga therapy with seniors and begin to give them simple neck and shoulder movements, they are able to move their neck and shoulders without pain, often for the first time in years.
I work with them doing Yoga Tune Up® Shoulder Circles, which was inspired by Jill Miller’s specifics on excavating the shoulder joints. Shoulder Circles help to release groups of muscles affecting neck and shoulder tension. I also love this movement for students because they are able to reflect on the extreme elevation from the shoulders and then depress them to the other extreme. They can then be reminded to feel their shoulders, and remember to drop them. Years of shallow breathing creates tremendous tightness and density in the thoracic spine, which leads to a lack of mobility inside the shoulder joint.
The Yoga Tune Up® Shoulder Circles exercise is taught in a way that leaves none of the student’s questions unanswered. I had one student who had chronic neck pain from arthritis in the cervical spine, but was rooted in the romboids and upper back compression. I asked him to show me what he has been doing in Physical Therapy and he demonstrated a movement that slightly resembled Shoulder Circles. It was more like an intensely closeted, and far distant lost cousin. Here’s the YTU version below, or you can also see it as part of the 5 Minute Quick Fix for Shoulders video.