Nizha Periaswamy

Of late, many middle aged persons, especially women, are turning to yoga to free themselves from "frozen shoulder" - a disorder characterized by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint.

The symptoms of frozen shoulder, which is also known as adhesive capsulitis, include hot, painful, and inflamed shoulder joint, and it is common in women between the ages of 40, and 60. Injuries, immobility, and hormonal changes can cause this condition.

The question is, how much can yoga asanas (poses) help a person suffering from this condition?

The fact is, yoga asanas can definitely be used to remedy the situation, provided it is done with caution, and some modification, and adjustment.

According to, once can modify the practice to avoid aggravating the condition, and slowly include more movements, where possible. After some time, one can explore more ranges and stretching with the shoulders.

Here are 5 'modified' poses that you can try to remedy frozen shoulders:

1) Cat and cow pose (Bitilasana and Marjariyasana)

This puts the shoulders into forward flexion, which can pose a problem for frozen shoulder sufferers. Instead of doing this asana on a "tabletop" position (knees placed under the hips, and wrists in the same line as shoulders), one can perform this pose by sitting cross legged or in the heron pose, extending hands to the knee.

2) Extended Puppy pose (Uttana Shishosana)

This pose also puts the shoulders into forward flexion. From a tabletop position, extend both hands in front of you, and place your forehead on the mat.

3) Thread the Needle pose (Parsva Balasana)

This pose relieves stiffness in the rear of the shoulder, and in the upper back. Start on your hands and knees, walk your right hand forward and slide the left hand between the right knee and the right hand. Twist your torso to the left and rest your head on the mat. Then, return to neutral position and repeat this exercise with the opposite side of the body.

4) Cow face pose (Komukhasana)

This pose involves a practitioner sitting by crossing the legs, with the heel of the upper leg tucked in under the lower thigh near the buttock. The arms are then clasped between the shoulder blades, with the arm on the side of the lower leg raised, and forearm bent down, and the opposite arm reaches down behind the back - forearm up.Those suffering from frozen shoulders may find this a bit diffult so they can use a strap to improvise.

5) Eagle pose (Garudasana)

This pose requires you to twist the arms, with the legs also slightly bent while crossed over one another. It relieves stiffness in the rear of the shoulder and upper back. If you are unable to perform this complete pose, trying doing it while sitting on a chair.

Yoga can help alleviate the pain caused by frozen shoulders, as you keep on doing yoga. Breathing the right way, and meditating can also help you calm down and remedy the pain in your shoulder.

Nizha Periaswamy is a yoga instructor and freelance writer.

Photo source: Sakthi School of Yoga