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Shoulder-opening poses with restorative and pranayama

A general level pranayama session, ideal for the mornings.

Contents

Introduction

This sequence starts with a few poses to open the shoulders and hips to bring some focus to the body before we start with the restorative and pranayama section. It is suitable for all levels, as it requires only a few basic props and does not include inversions.

View sequence

Supta Baddhakonasana
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Join your feet together, your heels pressed to your pelvis. Lie back over a bolster or other form of support. Relax and let your chest open. If necessary, use a strap to hold your feet in place.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Uttanasana
Standing Forward Bend
Starting in Tadasana, exhale and reach down towards your feet. Let your spine release downwards. You can bend your knees or place your hands on blocks if you lack the necessary flexibility.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Virasana Forward into Adho Mukha Svanasana
Forward Facing Hero Pose into Downward Facing Dog Pose
Back and forward transition from Virasana Forward to Adho Mukha Svanasana. Change poses on the breath, attempt to go deeper into each pose with every repetition.
Half Uttanasana
Half Forward Bend
Stand in front of a wall. Keeping your back and legs straight, tip from your pelvis until your chest is parallel to the ground. Push your hands into the wall and stretch your hips backwards.
Urdhva Baddanguliyasana
Upward Salute with Interlocked Fingers
Stretch your arms in front of you and interlock your fingers. Turn your palms inside out and lift your arms up overhead, making sure to keep your shoulders open. Change the interlock of your fingers and repeat.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Press evenly into your hands and feet. The main aim is to elongate the back of your body and lift your hips up as high off the ground as possible without losing the stable foundation created by your hands and feet. If you lack the hamstring flexibility, bend your knees a little.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Shoulder-opening poses with restorative and pranayama
Hero Pose
Fold your legs under you with your heels on either side of your buttocks. Keep your back straight, avoid sinking forward or back. This pose is to be avoided if you lack mobility in your knee joints due to injuries. Cross your legs instead or assume the Baddha Konasana position.
Parvatasana in Virasana
Mountain Pose in Hero Pose
Sit in Virasana, stretch your arms out in front of you, and interlock your fingers. Turn your palms outward and, keeping your shoulders down and ribs in neutral, extend your arms upward.
Dandasana
Staff Pose
Point your sit-bones down and extend your spine upwards through the crown of your head. Use support under your buttocks or bend knees if needed to get your back straight.
Baddha Konasana
Bound Angle Pose
Bring your feet as close as possible to your pelvis and join them together. Straighten your back and let gravity pull your knees down toward the floor. If necessary, use a strap to hold your feet in place.
Simple Cross Legs Twist
Sit with your legs crossed and back straight. Place your hand onto the opposing knee and, staying tall through the crown of your head, look over your shoulder as you twist.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Neck release over blocks
Place support in the form of blocks or folded up blankets beneath your back all the way from your thoracic to your lumbar spine. Your shoulders and head should be allowed to release down toward the floor. Relax in this pose. Start with knees bent, eventually extending your legs out in front of you. Use support under your head if you feel excess strain in your neck.
Supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
Supported Bridge Pose
Lie down over support placed under the whole of your body from the thoracic spine down to your knees. The shoulders swoop down to touch the floor. Spread your arms outward or slightly at your side. Activate your feet and press them into the wall.
Supta Swastikasana
Simple Cross Legs Lying Back
Cross your legs and lie back over support or straight onto your mat.
Viparita Karani
Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose
Bring your hips up to the wall and lift your legs up against it so that they're perpendicular to the floor. You can use a bolster or other form of support under your hips and lumbar spine to incorporate a mild backbend into the pose.
Virasana Forward
Downward-Facing Hero Pose
Join your feet together under your buttocks and keep your knees far enough apart for your ribs to fit in between your legs as you fold forward. You can rest your forehead on the floor or on a block.
Savasana
Corpse Pose
Lie down on the floor. Spread your arms and legs slightly at your side. Relax and concentrate on your breath.