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How to "Flow" With a Shoulder Injury

If you regularly practice yoga at a studio, gym or in another group setting, then you know what a bummer it can be to go to class with a shoulder injury like a rotator cuff tear or a frozen shoulder. Most yoga classes require a lot of time bearing weight on your wrists and shoulders in poses like downward facing dog, plank pose, upward facing dog, chaturanga, etc. What you probably didn't know is that, once you've been cleared for movement from your doctor or physical therapist, there are some easy ways you can modify your practice to fit your needs until you are back to 100%.

When practicing with a shoulder injury, sun salutations (the flow) can be the most frustrating part of class. Below is a simple sequence you can do to modify the practice and still flow along with everyone else in the room. From forward fold, step back one foot - taking smaller steps to get there if needed - and drop down to one knee. Then bring the front leg to meet the back so you are standing on both kees. Exhale for a gentle camel poses, keeping your arms nuetral to avoid pain or exacerbating the injury. Inhale back to center and on your exhale, bring the very top of your head to the floor and then very slowly lifting your hips for rabbit pose. Come back to standing on your knees and close out the flow by steping one foot forward at a time until you are back in forward fold. This practice should match the pace of a regular sun salutation and similarly includes both a back bend and a forward fold. You can scroll down to see the sequence breakdown.

Got any questions, comments or ideas? Be sure to include them in the comments!