In honor of Spring and all of its novelties, I am sharing two Yoga Tune Up® techniques that literally wash away the remnants of bad-habits from your tissues and allow for the surrounding structures to blossom into their fullness. For now, we will focus on two highly used spaces of the body: the shoulders and the hips.
GOMUKHASANA SHOULDER SERIES
This shoulder sweep is actually the “warm-up” to the classic Gomukhasana or Cow Face Arms but it’s so heavily dosed with PNF your shoulders will sign in relief and become fortified.
**Note: Before you start: after you perform a PNF stretch you may have the urge to shake out a limb, or adjust your shoulders…DON’T. After all of your concentrated efforts to organize the compartments of the shoulders, don’t shake things up and let them retreat to their old places.
Watch the video below to shape up your shoulders.
HOLY “TIDY” HIPS
This hip remodel brings balance to the muscles involved in mobilizing the hip joint by highlighting and employing both optimum tissue tension and relaxation. This particular approach follows the model, of quality over quantity so don’t sacrifice your alignment in pursuit of your end range.
**Note: Before you start again, resist the urge to wiggle or stretch after…just enjoy the reset. Unpack your junk drawer with these three cleansers you should surly keep in the cleaning bin that will leave you feeling lengthened.
Now that you have cleaned house, created space and organized your structure, it’s time for your tissues to enjoy their unspoiled tissue-ness and all that includes without being taxed with sluggish congestion or dormant foes. After the above exercises, take some time to stop and “smell the roses” with a few minutes of meditation or simple breathing strategies to seal the deal with the nervous system.
Relax with Jill in the video below.
Hope this helps you build your spring cleaning tissue routine!
I appreciate the videos and instructions for these movements. Thank you for the reminder to not shake it out! It’s a reminder that I need as I’ve always shaken things out, rather than allow the body to absorb this new information. Also, to take the time to rest after a pose as well. This false mentality that we have to go, force and take action in order for change to happen, rather how important to allow the body to receive and fully embrace new pathways.
Very thorough instruction in the videos. In the YTU training was the first time I heard to resist the urge to stretch or shake loose and muscle that you just PNF’d, and so realized how often I have that urge and probably do it unconsciously. I suspect this is also true of certain types of body work such as a massage — you don’t stretch and shake it out afterwards. Interesting.
I totally agree. Tightness in the tissues and along the body can reduce circulation in the body and build more lactic acid. Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation is a great way you and your partner can increase range of motion and stretch the muscles and tissues that are affected and it only takes a few minutes to do.
Thanks for the great detail on the Cow Arms PNF!
Love these practical ideas and routines. Thanks for the sharing!
Will try this
Your videos were really helpful, I learn so much better with visuals. So really grateful, thank you!
Thanks for the PNF cues in cow face and the reminder to slow down and feel the spring cleaning / realignment in the body and not shake it out!
Instructions were clear, they helped my understand PNF. I have a question though, would you recommand a modification of these exercices for people who have less mobility in there shoulder, like they can’t point their elbow up (won’t go as far in flexion and abduction) ? I guess it’s better keep working on the mobility in certain direction first before doing these combine actions?
I appreciate this post and the instructions on alignment. Proper alignment is extremely important on doing the poses properly and getting the full benefit. I strongly believe that by focusing on proper alignment we are able to give our bodies what they want and need therefore helping us to create a deeper connection to the self.
I really appreciate this post and instructions. I am an avid believer in proper alignment and feel that it helps us to better understand what our bodies need. By giving our bodies what they need and want we can start to build a deeper connection to our self.
I really appreciated the instructions in this post. Alignment is very important in making sure that you are doing the poses properly and getting the full effect. By practicing alignment and focusing more on what your body needs you’re able to create a stronger connection to the self.
The PNF patterns were very easy to follow. The increased mobility in my hips and shoulders felt great. Relief was felt immediately in a bicep tendon issue I had after a fall. Thanks
Thank you for these videos. I love the idea of a spring clean!
Thank you for the routine, your explanations are clear with great reminders about PNF’s and appreciate reminder NOT to shake or wiggle the shoulders once we are done.
Thank you for the great article. The more tools we have to take care of our shoulders the better.
Great videos. Will have to try this ASAP. My hips need it!
Thanks for the routines, the instructions and videos are clear and easy to follow, and all the options and reminders about the PNF’S are great!
Just did the shoulder exercise. Feels incredible to mobilise this way, and the difference between the 2 shoulders are incredible. I feel my shoulder more neutral than my usual protraction.
Thanks! will do that every morning
Thank you, PNF are sometimes not so easy to recall for maximum benefit. Your explanation is clear and simple. It makes performing them better.
Thanks so much for the clear and articulate instruction.
With students who can not get the elbow up straight without thrusting the ribcage, should they just do the routine with the upper arm only up as far as their current range of movement which may be well in front of the ear?
Excellent Baylea!!! I especially appreciated the reminder NOT to shake and wiggle the shoulders or hips to allow the joints to enjoy their optimal new positions. Beautiful demonstrated and described. I will be using this week in my classes…thank you!
Those shoulder positions are generally awkward ones for me. Thanks for the great video and explanations.
This really helped me understand the concept of PNF and getting more range of motion in my shoulders in cow face arms and more range in my hips. Will definitely use this next time i teach these poses in my yoga class!
very clear instructions. will use this with the athletes I am working with at the moment. Tried it myself and quickly recognized the benefits. Thank you!
I have left thoracic lumbar scoliosis and found doing this Gomukasana variation with PNF really increased my range of motion on my left side. I will definitely keep doing it and will start teaching it to my students., particularly my scoliosis clients. Thanks for the tips on spring cleaning!
The cowface arms with PNF would be a good movement break during the day for people who work at a desk. For pianists, it would be a great warm up and periodic break. While we do move our hands across the keyboard, we tend to keep our shoulders and elbows in a confined area, creating the possibility of injury because of the overuse and underuse.
I love this ‘spring cleaning’ idea. We don’t always think to cleanse our tissues as well as our environment. I especially like the gowmukhasana arms with PNF. What a simple trio to tidy with. Thank you for sharing your cleaning tips!
Great videos, really simple to follow and I felt great after doing them. How often would you recommend doing these routines?
I tried the cow face arms PNF after sitting for a long period at the computer. I noticed a tremendous difference and my shoulders felt so much better afterwards! This is a great, accessible shoulder routine I can take back to class.
Cow face can be very difficult for many people to do this is a great way to get the shoulder to loosen up. What a great use of pnf’s for both of the postures. I’m looking forward to doing it!
I do these stretches in most of my classes as well. Students love them because of the “stretch endorphine releasing effect”. However, now that I have learned to invoke propioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, they will become great tools for muscle conditioning as well!
I really enjoyed the video on using PNF in Cow Face Arms variation. I can see using this in my yoga classes to help my students strengthen their shoulders.
Such clear instruction and understanding of PNF – not a concept I was grasping before watching these videos. Thank you!
Thanks for the shoulder PNF reminder. My clients range from beefy young athletes to frail elders, and what they tend to have most in common is difficulty with this challenging bilateral combo of flexion/external rotation and extension/internal rotation. With both PNF and the balls, it’s not unusual for me to see improvements of 2 inches or more ipre- and posttest .
Great video about cowface pose, I was shocked at the difference between my arms after the PNF stretching! Thanks for the reminder about boy shaking the arms after the stretch!
Thank you for the very thorough demonstrations! What does “PNF” stand for?
I love the continued reminders to not try to “shake” off the sensations after PNF. This was really driven home in training today as well. It is so important to let the work integrate.
I love the Cow Face Arms with PNF. This is helping me with my shoulder pain and it’s increasing my range of motion. Great video!
I agree! Clear instruction on the pnf for cow faced! It makes sense to go at that speed, and do one arm at a time!
These exercises were in just the right places my body needs. I really liked the shoulder PNF routine, my ROM has been limited from a sports injuries and this gave me more space. I was excited to do they other side!
one of my students requested that I focus on shoulders for classes next week. I am excited to share these PNFs as part of my practice. I’ve been doing them and I love checking the arm lengths after, gives me immediate feedback of the work. Awesome! thanks-great job
Hey! I love these routines! well done. Very clear and simple instructions. These are stretches I use often in my classes but I love how you made the stretch all about PNF. I love PNF holds! Have a fantastic day! 🙂