Simple Shoulder Exercises for Self-Care

Updated: Apr 9

Melt tension in a common stress hot spot with these shoulder exercises.

A woman in a bright pink shirt and blue yoga pants sitting on stone connecting to a wooden bridge with green trees and plants in the background
Photo © Copyright by Laura Brown Photography.

We hunch over smartphones, computers, tables and while driving. We even hunch over our lunch. No wonder why so many of us are walking around with tight, tense and stiff shoulders—an area of mega stress and tension.

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How tense are your shoulders? A simple test: Take your hands to your shoulders and start to massage them. Notice if there are any knots (you may have collected many!) and massage those areas for a few deep breaths.

Let some additional tension go with the simple shoulder exercises below.

Practice It: Shoulder Relaxation and Rolls

  • Sit or stand with your spine tall and long. Allow your shoulders to stack over your hips with the crown of your head facing the sky.

  • Relax your shoulders. Inhale both shoulders up to your ears, almost as if you’re wearing them like earrings.

  • As you exhale, release them. Repeat this three to five times. With each exhale, visualize stress and tension just leaving your body.

  • Pause for a breath or two.

  • Slowly start to make small forward circles with your shoulders.

  • Gradually make the circles larger.

  • After you’ve done this a few times, change the direction of your shoulder circles. Start with small backward circles and then gradually make them larger.

  • Let your shoulders relax. Take a deep breath to reset.

Notice a difference? Your shoulders can feel that great in just a couple of minutes more often. Come back to these simple exercises any time and every time you need them.

As always, speak with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.

Learn more yoga poses that can help you integrate self-care throughout your day in my book 108 Yoga and Self-Care Practices for Busy Mamas (MSI Press), which is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and the MSI Press website.

Note that this website is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Speak with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine or wellness plan.

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