• Dr. Stuart Wellness

Healing Rotator Cuff Injuries with Forrest Yoga

Updated: Jun 4, 2019

A couple weeks ago I injured two of the muscles of my rotator cuff. This injury, became one of the inspirations behind this month's article- Healing rotator cuff injuries with Forrest Yoga.

The 4 rotator cuff muscles originate on the shoulder blade and insert on to the shoulder joint. These muscles are the supraspinatus muscle, the infraspinatus muscle, teres minor and subscapularis muscles. They are so named because they stabilize the shoulder joint.

Massage is an excellent tool in the rehabilitation of rotator cuff injuries. Exercises that strengthen and stretch these muscles are also very important in rehabilitation.

Below you will find exercises commonly practiced in the Forrest Yoga tribe that are great for the shoulders. If you have an existing yoga practice you may want to include some of the exercises below. If you don't want to practice yoga, most of these exercises can be done without the leg work.

Here goes :)

Warrior with Kite Hawk

This exercise is a great warm up for the rotator cuff muscles.

Come into traditional warrior 2 stance, palms facing down, chin over the center of your chest, elbows bent to approximately 140 degrees. Inhale life the chest, as you lift the chest roll the shoulders up and back, at the end of the movement the palms face up towards the ceiling, exhale roll the shoulders up and forward as you simultaneously move head down and chest down. Repeat 4- 6 rounds.

Warrior with hands clasp

This exercise stretches the pectoralis muscles, and the insertion points of the infraspinatus, supraspinatus and teres minor muscles.

Standing with the legs in a Warrior 2 stance, clasp hands behind the back. Inhale expand and lift the chest, exhale ease shoulder blades together and down the back. Hold for 5 to 8 breaths.

Extended Warrior Variation

This pose stretches most of the rotator cuff muscles at their insertion points.

Stand in a Warrior two stance with left leg forward. Inhale deeply, exhale rest right forearm on right thigh. Relax the neck. Move left hand behind the back, grab hold of either clothing behind the back or the right thigh. Inhale open the chest, roll right shoulder back. Feel for the stretch in the front of the right shoulder. Stay 5 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.

Warrior with Archer Arms Modification with a towel

A good stretch for most of the rotator cuff muscles.

Come into either a Warrior 1 or Warrior 2 stance, grab towel with the right hand, towel over right shoulder, move left hand behind the back, left hand reaching towards the neck, hold the towel. On an inhale expand the ribs, exhale use the right hand to pull the towel forward, draw left shoulder back. Stay for 5 to 8 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.

Warrior with Bird Wing Modification

A rotator cuff strengthener (infraspinatus and teres minor) and stretch (subscapularis).

In either Warrior 1 or Warrior 2 stance, have upper arms touching the sides of the body, arms bent at a 90 degree angle, forearms parallel, palms facing up. Keep the elbows touching the sides of the body throughout this exercise. Inhale move forearms out laterally, roll the head of the shoulders back, hold for 3 breaths, exhale move forearms back to parallel. Repeat at least 3 times.

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