Do It Yourself Massage - Yoga for Back and Shoulder

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Feeling stressed after work? What about an invigorating body massage? My way of massage is, sort of, do it yourself massage with yoga. You even don't need to go out to receive it. You would stay at home, do few exercises and feel rejuvanated!

Even a short yoga session brings you as much comfort and relaxation as an hour of bodywork. I have experienced both, massages and yoga at home, and can tell you that the latter brings you even much more satisfaction, rest and tranquility Practice yoga regularly and your body would 'say' to you daily, "Thank you so much for this great activity!" The usual pains and aches will leave you secretly and without any explanations!

As we know, body massages are mostly soothing and relaxing. Bodywork therapy is a very important part of muscular recovery; it heals and stretches tired muscles, increases the range of motion, and promotes flexibility.


Yoga Benefits

Yoga gives you all of the above, plus more goodies like, your posture and alignment will be improved immensely, just as your strength and tone. While massaging yourself with yoga, you will strengthen your skeletal system and massage your heart, lungs, and all other internal organs as well. The function of your glands will be improved and your immune system is going to be stronger when practicing yoga.

If you want to save money, or if you don’t have enough earnings for expensive massages; you can easily substitute them with yoga. It will cost you only a half of an hour daily. In this article, you will learn all what is essential to make it real, how to do yoga, and how to have a really soothing, stretching, and therapeutic yoga session.

All What You Need for Free Yoga Classes Online...

Everything what you need is, preferably, a slip-resistant yoga matt; you can substitute it with a thick blanket, rug, or towels. However, for your safety a sticky yoga matt is a better choice. It is not expensive and almost everywhere to buy.

To ease your movement comfortable clothing is essential and we usual practice yoga barefoot.

Important information. You can learn yoga without any instructor, only when you have experience with correct body alignment in physical exercises and when you are absolutely healthy. In all other cases you need either to check with your physician first or take at least few yoga classes, to get the feeling of correct alignment.

Please Pay Attention to:

  • First of all relax and smile.
  • Do not push yourself.
  • Stand correctly, feet flat and relaxed, legs straight, muscles tight, knee caps lifted, buttocks tucked in , shoulders pulled back and relaxed down, chest broad, your head is light and 'high in the sky'. Feel yourself like a puppet. A string attached to the crown of your head is holding you up.
  • Breathe calm and deep.
  • Move slow and gentle.
  • Stop exercising when you feel pain.
  • Following exercises are for all of you, who would love, in the first place, to receive back and shoulder massages. Yoga will do it for you. Test it, feel it, enjoy it.

Simple yoga poses for beginners.

Image 001

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Image 002 A. - E.

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Cats Can Do Yoga Too!

Ways to Massage Yourself with Yoga - Warm-Ups

Shoulder Shrugs and Circles

  • Stand straight, feet fist width apart.
  • Bring both shoulders towards the ears, hold, hold, release. Smile and repeat it 10 times.
  • Rotate your shoulders 10 times in one direction and repeat it smiling in reverse direction.

Standing Cat Pose (See Image 001)

  • From the standing position fold forward and place your hands above your knees across the lower thighs with the fingers pointing against each other.
  • Exhaling arch your back and tilt your hips. With the strength of your arms pull your shoulders high, hold your head low. Count to 5.
  • Inhale arching your back in the opposite direction. Tilt your head up and pull your hips slightly higher.
  • Repeat 20 times; enjoy the great feeling in your shoulders.

Chest Opener (See Image 002 A)

  • Stand straight, feet fist width apart.
  • Place your palms on your hips, fingers pointing down. Hold the elbows back and as close as possible to each other.
  • Inhale and gently arch backward. Smiling hold and count to 20. Experience your chest expanding.

Neck Forward and Side Bend

  • Stand straight, feet fist width apart.
  • Exhale and drop your head forward. Inhale and raise your head. Repeat it few times.
  • See Image 002 B. Drop your left ear towards your left shoulder. Put your left hand on the right shoulder and gently pull it down. Smile! Hold. Count to 20.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Body Side Bend (See Image 002 C.)

  • Stand straight, feet fist width apart.
  • One hand straight over your head, the other one is sliding down towards the knee; bend following the down sliding hand and smile. Hold. Count to 20.
  • Repeat to the other side.

Shoulder Warm-Up (See Image 002 D.)

  • Stand straight, feet fist width apart.
  • Clasp the hands and turn the palms facing away. Keep your arms straight.
  • Inhale and bring your straight arms above the head, hold them close to, or almost behind, your ears. Don’t raise your shoulders try to keep them low.
  • Hold, breathe normal, and count to 20. Smile and feel the massaging stretch to your shoulders.

Standing-on-Toes (See Image 002 E.)

  • Stand straight, feet fist width apart.
  • Inhaling stretch your arms to both sides and raise your arms over the head, palms together. Interlock your fingers, index fingers are pointing to the sky.
  • Stretch your arms straight and hold them close to, or almost behind, your ears.
  • Exhaling come up on tiptoes. Inhale. Pull your arms up to the sky. Count to 5.
  • Exhaling and smiling bring your arms down to the sides and your heels return to the floor.
  • Repeat 5 or 10 times

Cow-Face

Image 004

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Sitting Postures for Self-Massage Techniques

Head of Cow Posture (See Cow-Face Video)

  • Sit in any comfortable position (sit back on your heels, or cross legs in front of you).
  • Left hand behind your back, palm facing outward, slide as high as possible.
  • Right arm up, elbow bent. The right palm is placed between the shoulder blades, as low as only possible.
  • Clasp the fingers of both hands together. Hold, smile, count to 10 for beginners / to 20 for 'all old hands' :-).
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • [If it is difficult to clasp the fingers, use a scarf, sock, or strap between each hand until your shoulders are open enough for this exercise. It can take many weeks or even months until it will be possible. Please notice that often, one side of the body is more flexible than the other one.]

Warm-Up Swing (See Image 004)

  • Sitting position, legs wide spread, feet flexed. Arms up on the shoulder level.
  • Exhale; twist your upper body to the right, left hand touches the right foot, your head is following the right hand as far as possible to the right. Inhale and move back.
  • Exhale, smile and repeat the movement to the left side; inhale and come back.
  • 10 times to each side.

Picture 005

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Thread the Needle

Kneeling Postures for Massaging Yourself

Extended Prayer (See Picture 005)

  • Kneeling extend both arms in front of you on the floor, fingers pulling forward.
  • Ease your buttocks backward and chest toward the floor; feel the stretch in your upper back and shoulders. Smiling count to 10 if you are a beginner and to 20 if you are a ... :-) 'veteran'.

Threading the Needle Posture (See Video Thread the Needle)

  • On all fours, wrists beneath your shoulders, knees hip-width apart and beneath the hips.
  • Exhaling put your left arm through the gap between the right knee and right hand.
  • Lie preferably on the back of your shoulder and let the joint and your head ‘melt down’ into the floor.
  • Repeat to the other side.

Threading the Needle Posture - a Variation

  • On all fours, wrists beneath your shoulders, knees hip-width apart and beneath the hips.
  • Exhaling put your left arm through the gap between the right knee and right hand.
  • Lie preferably on the back of your shoulder and let the joint and your head ‘melt down’ into the floor.
  • Lift your right arm and begin circling 10 / 20 times.
  • Repeat to the other side.

Image 007

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Video 008

Lying on Your Stomach Postures - Ways to Massage Yourself

The Half Bow Posture (See Image 007)

  • Lie on the stomach. Bend the right knee.
  • The left arm in front of you, with the right hand grasp the right foot or ankle.
  • Inhale, raise the upper body, pull the right leg up and away.
  • Feel the great stretch when your right shoulder opens. Smiling count to 10 / 20.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Bow Posture (See Video 008)

  • Lie face down on the floor; grab your feet or ankles.
  • Inhale; try to lift your knees and chest off the floor. Your head looks upward. Smiling count to 10 / 20.

Image 009

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Fish Posture

Image 012

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Best Back Massages Ever - Lying on Your Back Postures for Self-Massage Techniques

Spinal Rocking (See image 009 and also last part of video 017b)

  • On your back. Raise your legs and head to your chest while exhaling. Hold your knees with arms. Inhale and rock back and fort on your back and feel the great massage to this part of your body.
  • If you are flexible, hold your chin towards the chest and rock from your head to the sitting bones back and fort. Smile and repeat so many times you like. Great massage for the whole back.

Fish Posture (See Video Fish Posture)

  • On your back, exhaling place your hands under your buttocks, palms to the floor.
  • Inhaling, shift your bodyweight on the elbows. Raise your head and trunk. Arch your chest and rest on the crown of your head. Smile. :) Count to 10 / 20.

Alternating Knee Hug

  • On your back, your chin isn’t higher than the forehead.
  • Exhaling bring your left knee to your chest and hold it with your both hands. Both feet are flexed. Breathe, count to 20 and smile.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Variation (See Image 012)
  • On your back, your chin isn’t higher than the forehead;
  • Exhaling bring your left knee to your chest; inhale and hold the knees with your both hands. Your feet are flexed.
  • Exhaling bring your head to your knee, inhale, hold for a while smiling and counting to 20.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Image 013

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Bridge Posture

Video 015

Image 016

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Video 17a

Video 017b

Image 018

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image 019

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Bent Knee Hip Raise

Image 020

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Image 021

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Happy Baby Pose

Image 022

Image 022
Image 022 | Source

Video 023

Video 024

Lying on Your Back Postures - Tips How to Massage Yourself

Bridge Postures (See Image 013 and Video Bridge Posture)

  • On your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, as close as possible to your buttocks, arms down by your side.
  • Inhale, press into the soles of your feet, exhale, and raise your buttocks as high as possible. Hold, counting to 10 / 20 and smiling. You’ll feel now a nice massage to your shoulders.
  • A Variation, Half Bridge (See Video 015 - please note, using straps - like in this video - is not required)
  • On your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, as close as possible to your buttocks, arms down by your side.
  • Inhale, press into the soles of your feet, exhale, and simultaneously raise your buttocks and both arms over your head and reach the floor.
  • Hold and breath, feel the great massage to the shoulders. Exhale, bring your arms back, smile, and repeat 20 times.

Knee Hug and Circling (See Image 016 and Parts of Video 017a)

  • On your back, your chin isn’t higher than the forehead; bring your knees to the chest.
  • Wrap your arms around your legs or knees. Gently roll from side to side and feel the great massage to your lower back. Do it so long it feels good. Smile :).
  • For circling (see videos 017a and 017b), unfold your arms and place your hands on your knees. Part your knees slightly, make slow circles, and feel smiling the massage to your hips and sacrum.

Sit-Up A. (See Images 018 and 019)

  • On your back, bring your knees up, straiten the legs, and point your feet.
  • Take your arms back over your head and touch the ground. Feel the nice massage to your shoulders. Stay in this position for a while (as long as it feels good).
  • Exhaling, sweep your arms towards your feet. Inhaling bring the arms back over your head. Repeat smiling as often as you like, for example 20 times.

Sit-Up B - Bent Knee Hip Raise - see video.

  • On your back, arms by your side, back is flat.
  • Exhaling, bend your knees and sweep up towards your chest, inhaling and keeping your knees still bent, bring the feet down and let your toes slightly touch the floor (keep your knees bent and lower back straight, pressing it into the floor) and exhaling sweep up the knees back towards your chest again.
  • Listen to your body. When it feels good, repeat 20 times smiling. Feel the enjoyable massage to your lower back.

Sit-Up C. (See Image 020)

  • On your back, arms along the sides, legs straight. Lift your head and shoulders up; keep your arms up and parallel to the floor.
  • Exhaling bring your right knee to the chest, your left leg rises slightly up (few inches above the floor), and both feet are flexed.
  • Straighten your right leg but don’t let it fall to the floor; bring your left knee to the chest.
  • Repeat smiling 10 - 20 times each leg.

Half-Happy-Baby Pose (See Image 021)

  • On your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms down by your side.
  • Exhaling, swing your right knee up, hold both hands on top of the right foot - fingers interlocked. Inhale.
  • Exhaling, push your knee down, close to your chest, towards the floor. Your foot and thigh are parallel and the calf is at the right angle to the floor. Your right elbow is on the outside of the right calf. Hold and smile counting to 10 / 20.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Full Happy-Baby-Pose (see the video). In this position shift your weight to the left and touch the floor with your left thigh, shift your weight again, this time to the right. Touch the floor with your right thigh. Repeat few times and feel the great massage to your lower back. In this posture, you can experiment holding your feet higher or lower, you can also cross your ankles. Shift your weight from left to right and back. In this way, you can feel which part of your back needs more stimulation. Repeat this swinging from left to right so long it feels good and enjoy the wonderful massage. Feel yourself like a happy baby again! :-)

Spinal Twist (See Image 022 and Video 023)

  • On your back, knees up, feet on the floor. Left arm is away from the body, resting on the floor, palm is facing the sky.
  • Drop your knees to the floor on your right, feet are flexed. Your right palm is on left knee holding it down.
  • Try to keep your left shoulder and arm on the floor. Smiling look at your left palm and count to 10 / 20.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Cross-Legged Twist (See the Video 023)

  • On your back, knees up feet on the floor. Your left arm extended to the side, palm is facing the sky.
  • Cross your left leg over your right leg and drop the legs to the right, your left knee is on the floor, the right palm is holding it down.
  • Try to keep your left shoulder and arm on the floor. Smiling look at your left palm and count to 10 / 20.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Supine Tree (See the Video 024)

  • On your back, exhaling the sole of your right foot is positioned along the left thigh, the left foot is flexed.
  • Inhaling lift your arms over your head. Interlock your fingers, index fingers are pointed. Pull your hands away from your body. Count to 10 / 20.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Supine Spinal Twist (See the Video 025)

  • On your back, your left arm extended to the side, palm is facing the sky, left foot on your right knee.
  • Bring your left knee to the floor on the right side of your body, right leg straight; right arm is gently pushing your left knee to the floor. Don’t force. Try to keep your left shoulder and arm on the floor. Smiling look at your left arm and count to 10 / 20. Enjoy the stretch.
  • Repeat to the other side.

Video 025

Smiling Relaxation for Youth and Happiness

Lie on the floor, if you wish, cover yourself with a blanket. Your feet and palms are relaxed (see the videos below), arms are apart from your body, palms up. Be calm and peaceful, feel your breath. You are free of any tensions. Your feet, legs, palms, and arms, your back and shoulders and your head are very, very heavy. Relax... Close your eyes, see the inside of your eyes, raise the corners of your mouth and smile. Fill your body and everything around you with your smile! Stay few minutes, or as long as you like it, in this position.

Namaste - I honor the light you radiate.

Shavasana - Corpse Posture

Big Butt Shavasana

I'd like to know if you have been able to exercise after reading my instructions?

  • Yes, the instructions are thoroughly enough and helpful.
  • No, the instructions are not helpful (please explain your point of view in the comments below).
  • The instructions are only partially well done (please explain your point of view in the comments below).
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Disclaimer

Not all exercises are suitable for everyone. It is recommended to consult your doctor first. Especially if you experience lower back difficulties, or have neck problems, please ask your medical practitioner before beginning.

The author does not have any liability from any injury or damage that may result from the use of any exercise or advice contained in this article.

The instruction and advice are in no way intended as substitutes for medical consult

© 2011 Maria Janta-Cooper

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Comments 32 comments

Mpho Mokobi profile image

Mpho Mokobi 5 years ago from South Africa

I agree with you on the benefits of yoga. I have had a few classes and enjoyed it very much.


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 5 years ago from UK Author

Me too :) Thanks for visiting this 'corner'.


afriqnet profile image

afriqnet 5 years ago from Nairobi Kenya

I have learnt everything I needed to know about yoga from your hub Thank you


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 5 years ago from UK Author

Thank you very much for stopping by :)

I hope that you'll exercise every day twenty or thirty minutes, OK?


donnatru profile image

donnatru 5 years ago from Danville, IL

Excellent Thank you I will keep this as a guide.

This is wonderful information!


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 5 years ago from UK Author

Donna, thank you very much for your comment. I'm happy to share my good experiences with yoga:)


Pamela N Red profile image

Pamela N Red 5 years ago from Oklahoma

Great information. I've been thinking about starting yoga but I live in a small town and would have to drive. I may just get a video and do it at home.


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 5 years ago from UK Author

Pamela, I think this is a good idea! :) Yoga is really great for us :) Thank you very much for your comment.


ImChemist profile image

ImChemist 5 years ago

Wow this very interesting hub , i rated it useful.


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 5 years ago from UK Author

Thank you very much! :)


Silver Fish profile image

Silver Fish 5 years ago from Edinburgh Scotland

Thanks for this Hub. Yoga is amazing.


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 5 years ago from UK Author

Dear Silver Fish, glad you like it. Yes yoga is very special and impossible to describe in such short hub :)


SweetMarie83 profile image

SweetMarie83 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Great hub, very useful! I started learning yoga at home about a year ago, and I'd definitely rather do yoga than get a message...I feel I'm working my entire body, mind and soul and I feel relaxed and rejuvenated and at peace.


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 5 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Marie for your great comment :) To receive a massage is a very passive 'activity'. I, like you, prefer to exercise yoga.


Ladybird33 profile image

Ladybird33 5 years ago from Georgia USA

GREAT hub and very informative! Thanks for sharing!


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 5 years ago from UK Author

Dear Ladybird33, thanks for commenting :)


restrelax profile image

restrelax 4 years ago from Los angeles CA

Wow awesome hub. Very useful information is given regarding massage yourself with yoga.


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 4 years ago from UK Author

Restrelax, thank you :)


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Image 001 reminds me of the pelvic rock we did in the 80s to relieve back pain and get ready for natural labor during pregnancy. I still do them for end of the day back tension. All fours on the floor with the same arched and lowered back movements.


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 4 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Kathleen for visiting . :-) Yes image 001 can help to stretch the back muscles. It is actually pleasant to practice, and yes, it can be done as a cat stretch on the floor. :-) I like also the 009 exercise. It is sort of playful and feels like a delightful massage to my back and shoulder.


visionandfocus profile image

visionandfocus 4 years ago from North York, Canada

Wow, this is an awesome hub! It's packed with great info and beautifully illustrated with pics and vids. Thanks for sharing and taking the time to put it all together. I really appreciate all the work you've put into this. Voted up and awesome, and sharing too!


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 4 years ago from UK Author

Visionandfocus, I'm glad that you liked and shared it. Thanks.


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

I do love your step by step instructions and have already utilized them. My shoulders stay tight almost all the time. I do exercise daily but have wanted to begin yoga for a long time. You were the incentive. I love your stick figure drawings by the way. They are perfect and easy to follow without excess clutter.


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 4 years ago from UK Author

Hyphenbird, you've honored me with your very appreciated comment. Thank you so much!


loveofnight profile image

loveofnight 4 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

Well done, all I need to get started is here. I never really associated yoga with messages but you are right. Not only am I going to receive the comfort and relaxation that yoga delivers but a free message as well. This is great.


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 4 years ago from UK Author

I appreciate your comment very much. Thank you. Take your yoga mat, relax, and do some exercises. It's very important for us writers to have some movement :-) In case of yoga, this is even a pleasurable movement :-)


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Wonderfully researched, presented, and complemented with audiovisual aids. I'm guessing that this hub has gone evergreen for you, attracting lots of well-deserved hits and accolades. Great job, jantamaya! I'm honored to be a follower within the next minute. Aloha!


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 3 years ago from UK Author

Mahalo and Aloha! Nice to see you again, Hawaiianodysseus! :-) Thanks for visiting, you've made my day :-) I think, my hub would be much better when I would have made a video with the exercises. I'll do it one day and hope it will animate you to exercise yoga :-) - a new resolution for 2013 ???


Vanika 3 years ago

This is so great...guys at the massage parlour are probably frowning when they read this. I will definitely give this a try. However some of those poses look tricky.


jantamaya profile image

jantamaya 3 years ago from UK Author

Thanks Vanika for your comment. I think yoga complements a good massage rather than raplaces it.


jaydene profile image

jaydene 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Wow this is great, I love yoga, i felt the tension leave upon seeing the first picture you put here, :) the stretching feels wonderful. We carry a lot of tension in our bodies and muscles, this is such a great way to release and relax.

Excellent hub , thanks


torrilynn profile image

torrilynn 3 years ago

I really loved your hub. I've tried yoga and pilates combined in the past and found that it really tones your body and relaxes you mentally, physically, and emotionally. Thank you and voted up.

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