“My shoulders don’t like my desk job.” This is something I heard in response to a recent post on Yin Yoga for the Shoulders. To all those desk-job shoulders out there: “I hear you and this move is for you!”
It can be deceiving when your shoulder, arms or hands hurt. Sometimes it actually is that finger that is causing all the issue. But, more often, the origin of the pain can be found further up the line. This move for the tricep addresses one of those locations.
The Tricep Stretch & Squeeze helps to get the stretch you need under and to the lateral edge the shoulder blades. At the same time, it provides compression to the triceps, helping to release impinged nerves and improve circulation. And, if you employ the great bonus move below, it also provides direct compression AND stretch to the subscapularus, lats, and teres minor and major.
How to do the Tricep Stretch & Squeeze:
- Kneel with your knees wide, facing your partner’s shoulder from the side, with your top knee near your partner’s ear.
- Bend their elbow so that their hand comes near to the side of the head. Hook your own elbow to theirs by sliding your top hand under their arm so your own hand ends up on the outside of their upper arm. This position allows you to traction the shoulder and side body in a controlled manner while working on the tricep. I like to brace my forearm and/or palm against my own body here for even greater control.
- Using your upper arm to position their arm, use your bottom hand to squeeze their triceps, from their elbow to their armpit. Squeeze the muscle as if you were squeezing a lime.
Extra lovely bonus move: Find the edge of the lateral shoulder blade (under the arm) and use the edge of your hand to apply gentle pressure toward the floor and release the space between shoulder blade and rib cage.
Benefits: Releases shoulder and upper back tension, and increases circulation in the arms.
Cautions: Be extra careful and use great communication if your partner has rotator cuff injuries.
For Yogis: Ah, our poor triceps get overlooked so often! Here’s a gentle pose to stretch them, similar to our Thai Yoga Massage Triceps Stretch. Stand or sit and bring your arms overhead. Interlace all your fingers but the index fingers (this brings you into Temple Mudra.) Move your hands down behind your head, working toward pointing your elbows straight up toward the sky, then lift your hands back to straight overhead. See if you can keep your side body long and upper arms parallel as you do this several times.
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