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Thawing a Frozen Shoulder

With slow and careful guidance, you can help a student (or yourself) work through one of adulthood's common injuries.

By Julie Gudmestad

Over time, yoga can help you, or your student, restore full, pain-free range of motion and function to your frozen shoulder. Think of it as an opportunity to practice the meditative aspect of asana practice and to be completely present in the moment, without glossing over or pushing through the painful, difficult moments of shoulder rehab. There is integrity in being present with things just as they are, whether the difficulty is a painful shoulder or a painful time in your life. Learn to breathe and let go, and things will begin to change.

Julie Gudmestad is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher and licensed physical therapist who runs a combined yoga studio and physical therapy practice in Portland, Oregon. She enjoys integrating her Western medical knowledge with the healing powers of yoga to help make the wisdom of yoga accessible to all.

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Reader Comments


I am a student teacher, have a frozen shoulder and I am unable to continue in my usual class. The levels of abduction mentioned here would be impossible for me though I have minimal pain. I agree that many teachers are not familiar with the condition.


I am suffering from frozen shoulder, pain and stiffness along with poor muscles and some range of motion. I would like to have some pictures as I had a surgery done lst year for rotator cuff injury. Can you pls show the video to fix this.


Thank you very much. I share the request for images of the arm positions. I suffered compression at the shoulder ,folllowing a wirst fracture and appreciate learning more about the shoudler from an Iyengar certified teacher. I have been practising Iyengar yoga for 5 years now and believe it to be the most precise and well taught method around. We actually learn "how".
Thanks again, J.

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