My troupemate requested this practice last time we got a big snow, and I've finally gotten around to writing up this practice. We just got majorly dumped on, and although I have the good fortune to have an awesome HOA that shovels straight up to my doorstep, I still had to help my husband dig out his car from the communal lot. Here's a short asana sequence I cooked up that will stretch out and restore your overworked shoulders and back:
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Always a good place to start. Shake out your fingers and wrists to open them up and get some fresh blood in there. Reach one hand out, palm away from you, fingers toward the floor. Use your other hand to pull your fingers back, stretching the forearm, wrist, and bicep. Repeat with the other arm.
Utkatasana (Chair or Mighty Pose)for 5 full breaths.
Yes, I know you're tired but this will warm you up quick!
Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)
Soften your knees and allow your back to round. Walk your hands up your shins if it's too much on your back.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
Melt your heart towards the floor. Five breaths or more.
Balasana (Child's Pose)
Widen your knees so your torso and forehead can come all the way down, making your spine as long and round as possible. Hang out here as long as you like.
Seated Shoulder Openers
Press your hips back over over your heels and sit in Virasana (Hero's Pose) Vajrasana (Lightning Bolt) or Sukhasana (Easy Pose). Interlace your hands behind your back. Squeeze your shoulderblades and elbows together, then, as you lift your heart, lengthen your hands down towards the floor. Hold for a few breaths. Bend your elbows and take your hands to one side of your waist. Squeeze the elbows together and hold, then take it to the other side.
Gomukhasana (Cow Faced Pose)
Feel free to skip the hips, if you're not feeling it.
Janu Sirsasana (Head of the Knee Pose).
Just because it feels good.
Jathara Parivarttanasana (Revolved Belly Pose
Lie down and take a nice and easy supine twist.
When you're ready, peel yourself off the floor and have a cup of something hot!