I hope you guys are enjoying the pose breakdowns! I received a question asking me to break down “Thread the Needle” pose specifically (thanks, Ann!) and I’ve received a few questions about shoulder stretches. So here you go! Thread the needle is one of my favorite shoulder stretches—it gives a great stretch right in between the shoulder blades.
To come into the pose,
I like to start out in childs pose and come off the heels (or start in an all fours position). Extend the right arm out in front of you and start to bring the left arm underneath. Relax your left ear down towards the mat and gaze under your right arm. Hold for a few breaths and then come back to center and move on to the other side.
Some people like to reach their extended arm (so for the first side in my example above, that would be the right arm) up towards the sky or even bring it down their back. If that feels good, that is a great option in this pose.
Other options in this pose include:
if it is painful to turn your head to gaze under your extended arm, keep your head center and rest your forehead down towards the mat. Never force your neck (or any other area of your body for that matter!) into a painful position. If it is painful on your knees, feel free to double up the mat under them or add some extra padding.
If you have a neck or shoulder injury, you may want to avoid this pose.
Make sure you are properly warmed up before attempting this pose—this is typically a pose that is done well into a class, not right at the beginning.
-Gives a shoulders & upper back stretch
-Gentle twist for the thoracic spine, an area of the spine that doesn’t often receive a lot of movement
-Gently stretches and strengthens the obliques
-Assists in sending fresh blood to the upper extremities