Quick Yoga Tip…Mind Your Shoulders

Many yoga students struggle with tense shoulders when raising arms above their head. My suggestion is to modify. Doing the final yoga posture is not the “goal” when practicing. The goal is to move towards the alignment principals of the posture. You will gain more benefits from the pose rather than winding up with poor posture and form.


In poses with arms extended over the head (Warrior 1, Crescent Lunge, Chair pose)

  • Release shoulders down your back away from your ears
  • Rotate triceps forward (externally) to broaden the upper back and help soften the scapula down the back
  • Straighten elbows and enegetically reach up through your fingers

For many, hands touching is not accessible using these instructions. Instead, keeping hands shoulder width apart works nicely.


To modify extended arm poses

  • Bend elbows at a 90 degree angle
  • Stack wrists over elbows
  • Tip the elbows slightly forward to draw the bottom of the shoulder blades flat and slightly in 
  • Energize the fingers

The Goal of Yoga   (No, it’s not the Handstand)

The yoga pose is not the goal. Becoming flexible is not the goal. Standing on your hands is not the goal.

The goal is to create space where you were once stuck. To unveil the layers of protection you’ve built around your heart. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates. To make peace with who you are.

The goal is to love, well…You.

Come to your yoga mat to feel; not to accomplish. Shift your focus and your heart will grow.

-Rachel Brathen-