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Strong Armed

Soothe repetitive stress with a sequence that eases tension in the arms, shoulders, and wrists.

By Nora Isaacs, Sequence by Daren Friesen


Whether you spend your days typing, driving, playing guitar, or adjusting your yoga students, repeated motions can cause tightness, strain, and repetitive stress injury. Because so many daily activities involve the arms, shoulders, and wrists, says Daren Friesen, director and founder of Chicago's Moksha Yoga Center, you'd be wise to build strength and flexibility in these often used areas. Even if you don't suffer from repetitive stress, a structurally stable upper body will prepare you for more-advanced arm balances and inversions.

Friesen designed a sequence to strengthen the upper body, while opening up the nadis (energetic channels) in the arms that, when blocked, can cause discomfort. "When energy flows freely through the channels, there is an absence of pain and strain," he says.

Friesen recommends blending sthira (steadiness) and sukha (ease) while doing the poses. If you feel unstable or sense that you are overworking, bring your attention to your breath, gaze, and spine. "Feel grounded and connected to the earth," he says, "while at the same time feeling long and tall through your spine to create a free flow of energy through your central channel."

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Reader Comments


This is a great workout for pain in the arms and shoulders. I am a piano tuner and this particular set of ahsanas is the best I've found! Please produce it as a therapeutic DVD! Any chance of that?

Thanks to all who contributed.


I live near Asheville NC and go to the BLack Mountain Yoga Center. The owners, Brad and Martia Rachman, are yoga therapists. I've been working with Brad on several "old injury" issues around sciatica, hip flexors, upper arm and shoulder and adrenal glands. In just a few weeks, I've had immense relief. In addition to hands on therapy, Brad has given me a set of poses to do at home specifically geared to releasing these areas. With more muscular flexibility, there is more blood flow to the areas and the nerves improve. (By the way, I have been down this road with MD's and never had improvement.)
I don't really know what yoga therapy is but it combines deep tissue release with accupressure points and probably some other things. You can email or call Brad or Martia at or 828-669-2939 to see if he can give you more information and refer you to someone in your area. I just found an International Assoc of Yoga Therapists online at
I believe there is an answer somewhere for you. Do not believe you have to live with this. Wishing you the best.

Patty Martin

Thank you so much for your input and suggestions and also sharing your own personal experiences and struggles. It sounds like you have found "a way" and I will definitely follow up with your advice!! NAMASTE!

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