Thursday night I attend my community choir. It makes me happy to go along and sing with a whole group of people who enjoy joining together in harmonies.

The dedicated choir director, Telly, lets me lead some yoga stretches at the beginning of the 1.5 hr. session, so the group follows along as I demonstrate and instruct.

I think about what will prepare us best for singing, so we do stretches that open up the lungs, loosen the rib cage and release tension from shoulders. I can hear some audible sighs when I offer an opportunity to let go of shoulder tightness, whether it’s due to physical work or anxiety.

This week, as members of our household have been engaged in doing hard landscaping yakka, our shoulders and backs have needed remedial work.

Here’s a practice I can recommend for addressing upper back and shoulder tension:

First, get centred in Tadasana

Adho Mukha Svanasana, hands on blocks


Uttanasana, hands on blocks

Virabhadrasana 1

Padangusthasana, concave back

Parvritta Trikonasana, with block

Pincha Mayurasana , with belt and block

Pincha Mayurasana


Lying supine, shoulder blades over foam wedge, Urdhva Hastasana

Urdhva Dhanurasana, blocks and belt

Urdhva Dhanurasana

Bharadavajasana, seated on folded blanket

Sirsasana, using blocks at the wall

Sarvangasana, supported on bolster, sacrum on chair

Halasana, legs supported on bolster on chair

Janu Sirsasana, with hands on blocks

Ujjayi pranayama, lying with shoulder blades supported