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    Suse's Avatar
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    a yoga question I think

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    Because I watch my dogs do upward dog and downward dog pose whenever they get up, it made me think, yes I need to do more stretching in the morning. However I've had (still got but getting better) a frozen shoulder and doing the downward dog pose hurts as I cant fully extend my arm. Should I perservere, is there another pose I should try as a good stretch in the mornings.

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    One armed downward dogs

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    standing versions:

    Using a table, put your forearms on the table (from palms to elbows), and create a long line between hands and tailbone. bend your knees if you need to. i'll try to get my friend to take some pictures so that i can post them.

    Second, just standing, bring your hands to the base of your back/sacrum, fingertips pointing up if possible, and then draw shoulders down and back (roll them into place), elbows toward each other, and then bend back.

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    Suse's Avatar
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    thanks for that zoebird. I'm not quite sure I understand the first description... ?? Might need a pic. but the second one makes sense

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    my yoga teacher warns never to force it. no pain, no gain doesn't really apply to yoga.

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    I've been practicing yoga for many years. One thing that I feel you have to avoid is over stretching cold muscles. What your dogs (as mine...) are doing in the a.m is a quick stretch to get the blood going, but yoga poses are longer, and deeper. It's good to warm up first, get real limber prior to stretching, especially if you have a chronic injury. Better yet, do your yoga in the afternoon, or late morning.
    As for the frozen shoulder: it didn't just freeze on its own. You probably started with some other shoulder injury, most likely some variation of rotator cuff injury, then you started nursing your shoulder to avoid pain, and your soft tissue surrounding the joint stiffened up to isolate the injured area. These are all things that our bodies do on their own. Not your fault. Now your shoulder is "frozen," which means it is very very tight.
    My suggestion would be to use a heating pad regularly (gentle heat for as long as you want, even a couple of hours when you have the time), and gentle stretching/strengthening. Google up "rotator cuff injury." There are detailed physical therapy stuff that you can find, even videos to watch. I reccomend those 3 exercises: The Wall, The Towel, The Stick. Look it up. Good luck.

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    Suse's Avatar
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    Fleshetarian, thanks for that. And yes, you hit the nail on the head, I had a rotator cuff injury to begin with and the frozen shoulder followed on from it. I am currently really trying hard to ensure that I complete my physio exercises to strengthen the shoulder (they are so boring but clearly necessary!) Between my shoulder and a back that is pretty stiff and inflexible, I need to get sorted.

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    If you have a shoulder injury than many standard yoga practices go out the window. i.e. sun salutes, up dog, down dog. You need postures that focus on opening, stretching, releasing the "frozen muscles". Heating pad is a great idea, as is a good warm bath or shower before practice. Remember to engage the muscles you are stretching and only go to the split second that you feel discomfort and stay there. acute pain is bad, mild discomfort okay. Active stretching will do more in 5-8 breaths than 40 minutes of passive stretching will do. Muscle creep(from passive stretching) can further damage the injured tissues. Active stretching will also help to strengthen the muscles. Add in other postures that don't involve your shoulder as you see fit to avoid imbalances from just working an isolated area.
    remember to eat lots of fat too its been shown that saturated fat helps restore damaged ligaments and connective tissues. Ayurveda also recommends applying Castor or flax oil to the area along with the heating pad followed with a hot shower to wash off the castor oil and a cool one to finish as it supposedly helps remove excess heat from the area.

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    this image is close, except she is using a wall instead of the table.

    i recommend using the table because you can find support for more of the arm, which will prevent you from pushing the shoulder too far as well as make up for any difference in length from the "freeze." you might even decide to just put your forehead on the edge of the table, too, with arms extended. and then, you want to focus on a flat back. to achieve the flat back, you might need to bend your knees.

    and, my personal favorite, "just woke up" move is cat stretch (sometimes called cat-cow).

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    I think you should warm up with some wall slides: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgkBFqwP2As

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