In this video we work to release tension in the front of your shoulder, or the anterior deltoid.
Equipment: tennis or lacrosse ball. A tennis ball is softer while a lacrosse ball is a bit more intense. A blanket or pillow is nice for comfort, but isn’t required.
1) Myofacial release of the anterior deltoid
Come down to your stomach and bring your right arm behind your back. Place the tennis or lacrosse ball at the front of the shoulder. Rest your head on your left forearm or on your blanket. Move around and explore where you have tension – it will be different for everyone. Allow your shoulder to be heavy. Though we spend about two minutes on each side, myofascial release is more about sensation than duration. If you need more time, by all means take it!
2) Lateral arm swings
Start in a comfortable standing position with soft knees and your feet hip-width apart. You’ll need about an arm’s length of space around you in all directions. Bring your hands to shoulder height and swing them across your body and open, alternating one arm over the other. Try to get as much range of motion as possible and keep your arms at shoulder height.
3) Scapula push-ups
From a plank position with your hands underneath your shoulders, lower your knees and press the palms of your hands into the ground. Round through the upper back, trying to make as much space between your shoulder blades as possible. With straight arms, slightly lower your chest, bringing your shoulder blades together. Be sure it’s not your spine or head that’s doing the movement – it should be your scapulas that are doing all the work.
4) Chaturanga with side plank chest opener
Begin on all fours and rise up to plank with your shoulders over your wrists. Shift forward slightly to the tips of your toes and lower into chaturanga. Coming back up, roll to the outer edge of your left foot and reach your right arm up to the sky, opening the chest and bringing the shoulder blades together. Slowly lower your hand back down to the ground and resume a plank. Shift your weight forward again, transition to chaturanga, rise up, and this time roll to the outer edge of your right foot and raise your left arm up, keeping the front of the shoulders open as before. Slowly return to plank and repeat five times on each side.
5) Static stretches
From a seated position and with a slight bend in the elbows, clasp your hands behind your back, squeezing the palms together. Next bring the knuckles to the ground and adjust your feet to about hip-width apart. Then squeeze your shoulder blades together. This might be enough for you and if so, stop here. To increase the stretch a bit more, you can scoot your butt away from your hands. As you get situated, be sure that your chest isn't collapsing, but instead keep it open and lift up through the heart and spine. Be mindful of your breath and facial expressions here – both will tell you if you're taking it too far.
6) Anterior deltoid stretch
Lay on your belly with your head turned to the right and extending the right arm straight out from the shoulder. Once you've set the right arm, gaze to the left, bring your left hand next to your chest and bend the left knee, raising the foot towards your butt as you begin to roll open on your right side. Feel free to stay here if you feel enough in this position. If it feels okay, slowly roll the hip further and bend your right knee, planting your right foot on the ground. No matter how far you are able to get in this pose, you want your spine to be as straight as possible – the same is true for your right arm. As you hold, let your breath deepen the stretch of the front of your shoulder. To leave this pose, slowly roll back to your belly, turn your head to the left and extend your left arm to shoulder height. Repeat on your left side. Listen to your body and notice the difference you feel on this side.
Work hard, find softness. MacKenzie Miller will leave you feeling as if you have flirted with gravity and laughed with the divine. Students are instantaneously transported away from the hustle of their daily lives, allowing their mat to be an arena reserved for cultivating inner peace.
MacKenzie is a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor. Her teaching combines thorough understanding of alignment and anatomy with the joy of balance and movement. She engages deeply with her students and her classes are thoughtfully sequenced, creating a safe space to have fun and explore, work hard yet find softness.
No aspect of the modern practice experience is left untouched. All will leave energized, grinning and humming at the end.