Shoulder Opener Pose

This pose begins to loosen and open the shoulders. This posture may help your child increase movement to the entire upper body and helps to increase the range of motion in the shoulders. Shoulder Opener Pose also releases tension in the arms, shoulder, neck, and chest. This pose may increase the air brought into the lungs and increase circulation throughout the entire body. Additionally, this pose will make your child aware of his shoulder and neck region.

Tightness in the shoulders is common. Many adults and children hold tension in their shoulders. At first, the range of motion may be limited, because this is not a position in which children normally engage. With practice, the position will become easier and feel freeing. This pose will warm the upper body and release tension.

This pose helps children with ASDs become familiar with parts of their bodies that they may have never fully felt. In addition, the breathing into shoulder tightness will help your child realize that his mind and breath may help dispel discomfort he may feel at any time.

A strap, long sock, or scarf will be needed for this pose. As a modification, the child may sit on a stool if he is uncomfortable in a cross-legged position. Additionally, his arms do not have to be spread as wide as in the full version of Shoulder Opener Pose. You should ensure that he is comfortable and that there is not too much stress on his shoulders.

Furthermore, you should ensure that he does not feel that he has to force his arms in front or back of him. Initially, he may not be able to reach behind himself. You may omit this part of the pose until his shoulders feel freer to try it. He will increase his range of motion slowly, over time.

1. Sit in a cross-legged position at the front of the mat. If necessary, a firm pillow may be placed under the buttocks to lift the hips and make the position more comfortable (Figure 2.5).

2. Hold the strap in both hands with your arms spread about as far apart as your hips. Keep your arms straight (Figure 2.6).

3. Inhale and bring your arms straight up until they are vertical from your shoulders. Feel as if you are extending your arms toward the ceiling (Figure 2.7).

4. Stay in this position for several moments, feeling the elongation of your arms upward. Your shoulders should become warm with the sustained holding of your arms upward.

5. Release your arms from holding the strap. Reach your arms behind your body and feel your chest expand (Figure 2.8).

6. Hold for several moments and allow the shoulders to release and become accustomed to this position.

7. Bring your arms overhead and in front of you to the starting position.

8. The whole movement, front to back, may be done three times. As you become used to this movement, you will be able to reach further behind your body as tightness in the shoulder area decreases. When you feel the tightness in the shoulders, inhale, and exhale deeply into the tightness. Over time, it will begin to lessen.

Figure 2.7 Shoulder Opener Pose B
Autism

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