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Shoulders

  • Got a Texting Habit? 5 Yoga Poses for Sore Shoulders

    I’ve resisted getting into the texting habit for years. It’s not that I don’t understand or appreciate the convenience. It’s that I don’t want to have yet another device I have to check many times a day. I also don’t want to get into unhealthy postural habits that often accompany texting. A while back I wrote an article about “text neck,” a relatively new postural malady that affects texters from their teenage years onward. Here’s a quote from the article: “When your spine is in a neutral position with your head resting atop your neck, your head weighs 10-12 pounds. Our...

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  • Parvrtta Utkatasana: Revolved Fierce Pose

    Utkatasana is popularly known as “Chair Pose.” But I can’t imagine that ancient yogis—who had never seen, let alone sat in a chair—would have invented a word for “chair” just in case. Truth is, they didn’t. Instead, the root word—utkata—means “fierce.” Utkatasana, a pose that strengthens the legs, feet and abdominals, is a staple in my healthy hips regimen. It strengthens muscles that can help stabilize hypermobile hips. In addition, it strengthens the core. The revolved version, Parvrtta Utkatasana, adds a thoracic spine rotation that can help soften shoulder tension. One of the keys to releasing upper body tension is...

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  • Eagle Arms: Dissolve Upper Back Tension

    Garuda, the eagle god known in Buddhist lore for his 40-foot wingspan, is revered for his special powers, such as shrinking and growing at will. A single flap of his gargantuan wings is said to move mountains. Garuda is ubiquitous in the East. His image is the national symbol of Thailand and Indonesia, and his legends span across Hinduism and Buddhism. He plays a starring role in the first book of India’s epic, Mahabharata. Garudhasana (Eagle Pose) expresses Garuda’s powers by strengthening and rooting our legs and feet. The arm position expresses the eagle god about to take flight. In...

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  • Parvrtta Parsvakonasana: Rotated Side-Angle Pose

    If I had to pick yoga’s most complicated yoga asana—among the more commonly practiced poses—Parvrtta Parsvakonasana (Rotated Side-Angle Pose) would get my vote. Parvrtta Parsvakonasana is a Warrior Pose, a twist and a balance pose. Its benefits are many. According to Yoga Journal, practicing Rotated Side-Angle Pose: Strengthens and stretches the legs, knees, and ankles Stretches the groins, spine, chest and lungs, and shoulders Stimulates abdominal organs Increases stamina Improves digestion and aids elimination Improves balance Parvrtta Parsvakonasana is commonly practiced in many popular classes, including fast-paced vinyasa classes. Even if you prefer moving quickly through sequences, it can be...

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  • How Yoga Sandbags Can Help You Deepen Practice

    Sometimes just the right adjustment from a trusted teacher brings about a breakthrough in your practice. A gentle tug on your shoulders in a back bend can open up new breathing space. Or a gentle weight on your upper thighs in Supine Hero’s Pose can relieve back strain. But our teachers don’t join us in our home practice. How can we enjoy the same kind of opening and release when we practice alone? Yoga Sandbags can help. Yoga Sandbags are a longtime staple in Iyengar Yoga practice. Like other familiar yoga props such as blocks, straps and bolsters, Yoga Sandbags...

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  • Yoga Strap: Open Your Shoulders in Gomukhasana

    Use a Yoga Strap for a Great Shoulder Opening Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) is a staple in my morning yoga classes. Years ago, several of my students made up unflattering names for it—Cow Pie, Mad Cow, etc.—because it was so challenging for them. Now those same Cow Face naysayers have turned into Cow Face converts, even sometimes giving up a bit of their Savasana to do it if I don’t offer it in class. Gomukhasana is quite complex. It’s classified as a hip opening pose, as it stretches all the glutes—maximus, medius and minimus—as well as the piriformis and the...

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  • De-stress Your Shoulders, Chest and Neck with a Sukasana Pillow

    Simple, Supported Backbend with a Sukasana Pillow Most of us spend most of our days hunched over a keyboard. When we leave work, we hunch over a steering wheel. They we get home and hunch over a cutting board. You get the idea. We spend a whole lot of our lives bending forward, often to the detriment of our neck and shoulders. Yoga has many antidotes for this, of course. Twisting, side bending and back bending all help to loosen up our beleaguered upper bodies. I often recommend to my students who suffer from neck and shoulder stiffness that they...

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