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Restore & Rejuvenate

Lesson 7 of 8

Restore: Shoulders & Arms

Carling Harps

Restore & Rejuvenate

Carling Harps

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Lesson Info

7. Restore: Shoulders & Arms

Lesson Info

Restore: Shoulders & Arms

welcome to a restorative practice for your shoulders and arms. This is a targeted practice for your upper back shoulder. Girdles will drop down and work on relieving some risk pain and softening the overuse muscles of the neck. In this practice, you just need a few props. So a block a couple blankets will do Good. Let's get started way. We're starting this practice on their backs today, so grab your blanket and you're actually gonna open it up and roll it up Hot dog ways. So not hamburger hot dog. So it becomes a long thin that's going to come to the head of your mat. So this blanket is gonna run right along our spine. You can turn around and just sort of lineup the base of your tail bone to the blanket and roll all the way back onto it. Your head should be nice and support if you need more. You can always fold it once you get a little bit more elevation and feet come together. Soles of the feet find each other as you come into soup. Tomato, Can Osama. So as you settled in here, right?

This blanket isn't a huge prop underneath you, but depending on how much back bending you do, it might be fairly intense. What I want you to think about is taking each shoulder blade and sort of pinning them underneath you. So scoop that scapula underneath so it sort of gets stuck on the blanket and then release and then same with the other side. Scoop that shoulder underneath so it starts to move into the back body. You'll find yourself in a bit more of a back bend, the palms facing up, big external rotation in the arms. So if you don't have a blanket, you could also use a rolled up yoga mat here as well. It sort of helps to stick the shoulder blades onto the little back there. Then it's best you can relax the jaw, the head in the neck and feel the shoulders. Continue to peel away from your ears and feel the sides of your neck get a little longer. The knees just flop open. There doesn't need to be any specific effort there, so as we start here, you're already in a pretty intense heart opener, right? You can feel that broadness across collarbones in the sternum, so I want you to sort of emphasize that with the breath and use those inhales here this time to move that breath all the way into the top of the chest and spread it from collarbone to collarbone all the way into the shoulder. Heads right. Feel that breath, sort of move from the shoulders down into the biceps, into the elbows, through the farms and all the way out into the fingertips. And you sort of start to get this bit of a tingle sensation, or almost like this expansiveness as you continue to create space across the front body. For many of us, this is a space that's really closed off or at our desks were rounded. We're here, so this shape, in and of itself can be really foreign, right? That could be kind of a lot, so adjusting as necessary, right while still retaining the shape, trying to keep moving that breath, sort of letting it drip across the chest right from the center down each collarbone, shoulders, arms, hands taking the breath. Just a few parts here, so starting to expand a little bit more intentionally with your next inhale to see if you can fill up just about halfway in healing and then pause. Hold that breath in halfway to not to get tense in the face of the jaw. And then take that second super air Philip all the way. Good. Paused the very top. Hold everything in and then exhale out just halfway and then exhale out the second half, emptying all the way. Another one like that Super air. Inhale halfway and then it held the second half. Hold pause, exhale halfway. Exhale Everything good similar to that? But this time three parts. So inhale 1/ in how 2/ inhale all the way. Pause and hold at the top. Exhale third, Exhale. 2/ exhale Everything out could continuing like that in healing 1/ 2/ all the way to the top. Exhale 1/ Exhale. 2/ excel everything one more, little slower in hell. The first in how second in hell. Third, fill it all the way up. Pause and hold except the first. Exhale the second and exhale the third Hard to lengthy eyes open. If they were closed, come back into your regular breath, pull the knees together and just gently roll off onto your right side. You can spend a moment, a little bit of a fetal position, sort of. Let the spine come back into its natural curves and then go ahead and just roll all the way onto your belly. So slide your blanket, your pops out of the way and come flat onto your stomach, and we're going to do a little bit of opening for the shoulders. So with these, it can be tempting to go all the way to your deepest variation, right? But be mindful that the rotator cuff is a very delicate joint. There's a lot of little, very intricate things going on in there, so there's no need to push right. Just find a bit of opening and find that space without letting your ego take over. So we'll start with the left arm out to the left, and you're just gonna extend it straight off of the shoulder, right? So instead of up or down, see if you can find that nice straight line and then bend your right leg and actually we're gonna grab our blankets so we get a little bit of a pillow here and I'm gonna roll over onto my left side and step without right leg back behind me for support. So this may be plenty, right? You've got your right leg bent, foot flat on the floor. Stay or night. Right here. Keep softening the shoulder away from the year. If you want a little bit more, you can bend the left foot as well. So both new space up to the ceiling last little bit. If you feel nice and balance, you might reach the right arm back behind you. And instead of reaching for that office at hand like you may do in some classes today, I just want you to drop it back behind you and be really gentle. If this feels too vulnerable at all at any time, bring that right hand back in front of you and use it for support. So you stay nice and balanced and you don't roll too far on that shoulder. Breathe into the front of the chest. This might be really intense. Peck. Major Peck Minor. So see if you can expand the breath right into that part of the chest. Try to calm those muscles a bit. When you're ready to come back through. Just straighten out that left leg. You gonna roll all the way onto your belly and come right into the second side? So right arm goes out to the right wrist shoulder right in line with one another and then use your left hand for support. Benji left knee and roll over onto the second side so that left foot will find the earth. That's your support, right? So don't go any further than that needs to. If you've got the space, you could bend the right knee as well. Place both feet flat on the floor, right, but only if it feels okay. If it ever becomes too much or it makes you feel a little bit of anxiety, A little bit of panic around that shoulder joint. By all means, roll back. Take it down a notch. There is no prising yoga for going the furthest for doing the most poses at any of that stuff. So the most important thing is really listening to your body. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out what that means or what your body is trying to tell you, right? But if you can tune in and sort of get quiet, focus on the breath. Usually it will let you know what's too much and where things were going, and then slowly start to make your way back through center and we're gonna come back to side won. The only difference this time is instead of the armed street, you're gonna turn into a bit of a cactus shapes almost like a field goal post. So it's a nice riding right angle in your left elbow, right? Check in that it's not too narrow or too wide, and then same thing. Roll over. This time, your range of motion is likely going to be more limited. So instead of stepping that foot over, if it's not comfortable, you could let it just sort of dangle. I don't try to go all the way with both feet. This is a pretty big motion. Pretty big stretch. So likely this is plenty. I'm just imagining those muscles in the inside of the arms or softening expanding. You might feel this right in the bicep, in the belly of the muscle or depending on where you're tightness is. It may sort of live more in the chest, in the pecs still, uh, and then gently back to center and over to the second side. So right angle with the arm. Paul. Miss flat. Use the left hand for support and just gently roll over on second side. You know, if your blanket for a little bit of support for the head of the next you're not dangling and cocking the neck, it's some weird angle expanding through the front of the right armpit all the way down towards the elbow. Last brother, too, All the way back to center, on your already on your belly. We're going to stay right here and just take one baby cobra so you can bring the hands out in front of you a little bit more like Sphinx of that feels better. You could bring him back behind, right? The variation I leave up to you. It's really more about lifting the chest, finding a little bit of that awakening in the front of the body, right, but doing it with the musculature instead of with the weight or instead of with props. So support yourself here. Lift, lift, lift, lengthen the crown of the head forward good and then release. So stay on your bellies and you can take your blanket or a bolster. If you've got a couple, you might want to sort of line them up. So you get a little bit more hype, and all we're gonna do is move that underneath just about underneath the breast bone. And that's going to do the work of Cobra Forest. So this is a more passive version, kind of work your way up to it. Bring the hands out in front, right, imagining that you're going to set up for a Sphinx pose or cobra. But I wanted to be really easy, so it resists the urge to straighten the arms and tryto keep yourself there right. Let the props do it for you as you set yourself up. You've got enough support from the blankets from the bolster so that your belly in so the top of your rib cage in your belly up off of the earth, right. But you don't have to do too much work in the musculature. And once here here you can stay nice and long for the crown of the head, more like a traditional backbone, or especially if you're totally letting go. If you're releasing, it could be nice to sort of tuck the chin and let the head in the neck drop right. If you've got all the props in the world, you can put something else in front of your face so your head can rest on something that could be really nice as well. Even as you stay here in this much more restored a version of a back bend, it could be tempting to let the shoulder sort of collapse as you drop the head in the neck. So if you notice that happening, see if you can just draw your shoulder blades and down your back. So it's almost as if you're just sort of letting him slide and reach towards your tailbone. And along with that motion of the shoulder blades, you'll find that the traps those big sort of linebacker muscles here on the neck start to drop down as well and soften. And that's what we want. And you've got about 10 more breaths here. If it starts to get too intense on the low back at any moment, you can always scale down remove of bolster or a blanket just focusing on lengthening the sides of the neck. Whatever shape it's in, uh, a little with your next few breaths, Walk your hands back behind the bolster back behind your props. You gonna press your way all the way up and back to table top pose so you can just scoot to these guys to the top of your mat will use them again, then come into your table top and instead of coming into a regular child's, were gonna come into kind of a hybrid. Like to call it puppy dog pose. So walk the hands out long, just like you would for child, and then drop the chest to the mat. So the hips sitting up nice and high, just like tabletop dropping the chest down. Right. And if this is too much, you can always use props in between and drop the chest onto those so you've got a little bit of a buffer. The idea here is not to dump into the low back, but to find some opening behind the heart in the upper thoracic spine. So little lift of the belly so it doesn't turn into a total ski shape. Ski slope shape and see if you can feel the heart melting between the shoulder blades. You can drop your chin to the mat. You could drop your forehead, whatever feels best. And spend five more breaths here, right? Not such a long one on this guy on walk your way back up. Right. And you're gonna bring it. Your bolster your blankets blocks will work to write. You get creative on this stuff, and we're gonna do a similar posture. But the only difference is this is gonna be with Ben Arms and it's gonna target the triceps and the lats more so this whole part of the side body, especially for many of us, the lats we can get them stronger. But we're not very good at getting the mobile. So for this, you're gonna take your prop here and your elbows air gonna rest on it. So what you want is this sort of negative space where you can drop the head down so rest the elbows here, Presa poems together and then try to drop the head and the neck through the arms, Thumbs to the neighborhood neck hip. Still say pretty high belly is still strongly support the back. And as you drop the heart down, right, if you need more intensity. You can stock up to a higher prop. We need less, you can scale it down. But think about wrapping the triceps down. So you brought in the upper back. And what that looks like is finding this motion off, pulling the elbows towards one another and wrapping the triceps in. So you get a little more space around the traps and you get that external rotation, which is what is gonna incorporate everything right. This is a nice, lovely stretch. But if we don't keep the shoulder girdle safe, then it can be really detrimental instead of the benefits that we want out of it. So make sure you're paying attention to the alignment on a of it on this one. You know, about five more breaths here, your way back, right. Come into a seat and set your props aside. So once you find your way into the Rocinha, you can really be any seats of your Austin. Are su casa? No, whatever feels comfortable, cause that's really the key here. I just want you to drop your hands into your lap and roll out the shoulders a few times so you go forward and back do sort of whatever feels natural to get some space in there, sort of work out any kinks, right? You might notice that one is more mobile than the other right ones. Really smooth and one kind of go smooth and then her. And that's movement. So sort of. Just see if you can pay attention to where those kinks might be. Same with your neck and your head, but little turns. Maybe it's big circles going both directions. Just take a few moments to sort of find that new space, right? Anything that may have opened up through the stretches we've done so far and then come onto hands and knees tabletop and take a gander at your hands and just plan the hands down really strong, right? Reached through the thumb. See if you can squeeze that little muscle between the index knuckle on the thumb. And we're not doing anything crazy or weight bearing. But I just want you to have a good grounding so that, as you start to do little circles around your wrist, right, nothing is pushing in any weird way. You've got pretty even distribution. Okay? Resist the urge to spread your fingers is. Why did you can instead see if you can just find a nice, neutral hand like your hand was just sort of fitting right into a glove, Nothing crazy. Then take those risks, circles the other direction. Yeah, and then go ahead and come back to center, and you're gonna pick up the hands and turn the fingers out. So once you've turned the fingers out, just a little baby rocks. I decide this sort of testing the waters, we don't go crazy And then a little bit back, a little bit forwards and then little circles here as well, both directions. Perfect. And then lastly, you're gonna flip those hands back so the fingers point towards your knees. And if that is out of the question not happening right, they may be sort of halfway. They might stay with the fingers pointing out It's totally fine. I'm not forcing anything at all. Once you've got the fingers to where they're gonna be for this guy, just a little lean back. So you feel that stretch all the way up the front of the form base of the wrist. But as you lean back, if you've got the mobility and you want a little more. You can lift the heel of the hand just early off of the map so it gets more into the base of the palm into the edges of the fingers. Good. And then roll it back down, unwind the hands, and then sit back on your heels. We're gonna find a little balance stretch for the tops of the wrists and for the farms. So bring your hands into fists and then plant those knuckles on the earth and then sort of think like a gorilla. And you're gonna roll those hands out so that you're on the top of the hand. So as you do this, it may sort of feel like you've lost control of your motor skills, like your hands gonna do weird stuff and it's gonna have a hard time going into a fist, and that's okay. All of that has to do with the tightness in our forms and our wrists. Right? So over time it will become easier to keep that fist. I promise rights to try not to fight it. But you might notice some little funny twitching, but you should feel the stretch. All the way up and over the top of the handed into the form. Take a few long, slow, deep breaths and then gently release just a little role of the wrist. Sort of shaking it out or not toe like go crazy and shake it. But just find some mobility and then last stop on this lower arm train is we're gonna do a little bit of self Thai massage to work out any knots and kinks in the forms. So this is great if you sit at a desk all day long if you're typing on computer some that carpal tunnel going on Also great for anyone who uses their arms, especially if you do yoga. You do a lot of hand. Balancing things could get really messy in here, so come back onto your hands and knees. I'm gonna start by dropping my left forearm down. And as I bring that left arm down, you can bring your hand into a fist or let it open. Whatever feels good, you're gonna use the opposite me and go ahead and bring that me to your forearm and actually think about massaging out your form. You might find some really nice knots, some kinks, some very interesting spots, right, and you can just sort of explore whatever you find. Go ahead and work on it on. The lovely thing about this is that you control all the pressure, doesn't have to be more intense or more than you need, and you could do a little bit on the top of the form as well, although it's a little harder to get. But if you find sort of a sticky spot, you can always stay there. When you're ready, go ahead and switch sites so right Forum comes down. Left hand is just there for support. Then you're gonna use opposite me to come up, do a little self massage. It's just sort of working in little baby circles, either direction up and down the form. Often times risk pain can be really intimate. Connect intimately connected with tightness or overwork in the forms. So noticing how things pull right. Everything else around what might feel like an injured area. Often times it's stabilising and dealing with the muscles surrounding where you feel the pain rather than directly. At that point, it's a see if this helps the last round or two and then gently release. Sit back on your heels. Take a moment, a lot. The rest. You can sort of interlaced the hands and just give him a little bit of a role in either direction. See how things feel. Same thing with shoulders when you were rolling him around. If there's any kinks in there, something feels funkier, wonky in one direction or the other. Usually a good tell, uh, and then lastly, after the arms, the shoulders feel a little bit more spacious. Come onto our backs. So we'll take our A block to the back of our Matt, and this block is going to start going long ways, and you can use a blanket for a little bit of a pillow. I want some support there as well, so making sure you're set up is nice and clean first and then come onto your backs and this block is going to go sort of right between the shoulder blades right up in the upper back. So may take a time or two to find the sweet spot. Then the head should be supported either by the block or by a blanket. Whatever else you've got, just like when we started, I want you to try to pin those shoulder blades underneath you a little bit. It's obviously going to be more intense because you have a block underneath you instead of a blanket, right? So if you need to reduce the intensity, you can go back to that blanket. If you want a little extra along the lattes and the triceps, just like we did in that earlier stretch, you can reach the arms back behind you, que tal the head and continue to reach over. Legs can do any shape that feels natural. Don't worry about it so much. Spend about five breaths here and just allow the pressure of the block to sort of work into any knots that are in the back. Right. So you might feel sort of the edges, especially around the directors and the spine. That can be sort of touchy you or full of trigger points, that you might even move the arms a little bit to sort of feel that that range of motion is like where things get stuck sort of experiment, checking in one last breath on and then has your way up Step two. We're gonna take that same block, but I want to turn it the other direction. Re set up your props. So now you've got it the other direction. This time it's gonna go right about the base of your shoulder blades. So it's supporting the mid back. Once you lay back, you'll find you have a little bit more freedom up in the shoulders this time, but it is pressing up through more of the thrashed experience. This is a bit of a bigger back then, for most of us arms, concomitant, sort of in a cactus shape. Come back to that idea, breathing across the whole line of your front body. Imagine the muscles, tissues of the back sort of molding around the block, giving way to them and creating more space around the block. It's sort of like a tree grows around offense or a pillar that's in its way. Same thing here. Can you imagine working with this new shape right? Being agreeable with this new shape, even though sometimes it can be rather intense. Last few breaths in the last piece of this pie, as you're gonna take this block from the mid back Lord all the way down. Move Any pillows or props from your head on the block is going to go all the way underneath the low back, so lift your hips is if you're setting it for bridge on the block underneath the majority of the pelvis, this time with the arms. Just let them come by your sides. Let the shoulders drop down. Feet can stay in close so you can walk them out long. Whatever feels comfortable briefs that little elevation of hips. That little bit of these as you soften the shoulders in the upper back, can you imagine sort of broadening and widening across the traps across the neck, right, so that everything starts to sort of spread wide instead of trying to go up into a back bend? Can you instead spread wider and soften across the whole length of the upper back? My neck is still strong for the muscles surrounding it. Soften. You've got 10 full breaths here, each one reinforcing that with reinforcing that expansion, taking the time to soften these delicate muscles that hold us up all day long. But allow us to do so much, giving them a bit of relief and rest in finding the same for your mind for your thoughts along the way. Two more breaths. When you're ready to slowly press the feet down, lift the hips, remove the block. Let the hips find the earth we will defeat out is why does the mat and just knock the knees in. It's softening through the low back. Feel that sort of back room of the pelvis wide and drop down. Allow your whole body to release muscles heavy into the bones. Bones drop heavy towards the skin. The earth. Let everything support you. Take your final rests as long as you have available and find your shop. Asthma. Thank you for practicing nomis day.

Class Description

Skill level: Beginner
Classes: 6
Time: 30 min
Cycle: 6 days

Before you can truly tap into your creativity, you need to clear your mind of all the noise and chatter of the surrounding world. A restorative yoga sequence helps you reach a level of calm, quiet and introspection so you can free yourself from the daily grind and explore the deepest parts of your psyche. In this restorative yoga for beginners series, you’ll learn how to:

  • Implement your own self-care routine
  • Counterbalance the hard, intense physical work you do every day
  • Release tension, increase mobility and relieve pain from overused muscle groups in your hips, legs, arms and shoulders
  • Reset and unwind to reduce stress, improve mood and help you sleep

Based in Los Angeles, Carling Harps is known for her lighthearted attention to detail and commitment to the growth of her students. She connects individuals to the practice through intelligent and informed sequencing, compassionate and intentional adjustments, and relevant alignment instruction. She has been featured in and contributed writing to publications such as Yoga International, Mantra Magazine and Yoga Digest. Carling will teach you a restorative yoga sequence that will help you:

  • Access your body’s unique needs
  • Create new connections and continue to find your center
  • Perform hatha postures and long yin holds

Workout Descriptions:

Active Reset
This low-impact, gentle flow yoga sequence is designed to build minimal heat and create space in your body through repetitive movement and opening.

Full-Body Yin
This yin yoga routine uses long relaxed holds to target fascia and tightened connective tissue in overused muscle groups across your body.

Nighttime Restorative
This evening yoga sequence is designed to cultivate a restful body and mind by blending calming postures, supportive props and deep breathing.

Restore: Hips and Legs
This calming yin yoga for hips and legs class combines hatha postures and long yin-style holds to help unravel the hips, glutes, feet and calves.

Restore: Shoulders and Arms
This yin yoga for shoulders and arms class combines restorative hatha postures and yin holds to target the upper back and shoulder girdle to relieve wrist pain and to soften overused muscles in the neck.

Restore: Side Body and Back
This yin yoga for back class combines hatha postures and long yin holds to help unlock the lower back and tired obliques, and create more space in the torso for fuller, clearer breath.