Hip and Shoulder Openers

December 10, 2009

Tight hips and shoulders can hinder a dancer’s range of motion and cause injuries. Here, yoga instructor Megan Walsh shares a routine

designed to help you open up the muscles in these important joints. Hold each pose for three seconds before transitioning to the next.


Lunge with your right foot forward and pointing straight ahead. Your left foot should turn out slightly. Cross your left elbow over your right, keeping your focus toward your palms. Moving just your rib cage, stretch backward in a slow, continuous motion.









Slowly stretch forward over your knee.









Straighten your legs. Bring your arms back and clasp your hands.










Lean forward and allow your arms to fall with you, stretching your shoulders. Hold, then straighten up.










Open your hips to the left and bring your arms above your head, then bring them out to the sides.










Bringing your right wrist up and your left wrist down, lock your fingers behind your shoulder blades. Lean back slightly and hold. Then bring your arms back out to the sides.









Straighten your right knee and turn your right foot so it points front. Lock your fingers behind your lower back. Slowly arch your back, lift your gaze, then lower your chest. Your arms should follow, stretching your shoulders.








Lower your arms to the floor and turn your body to the right into a low lunge. Fold your right leg under your body, point your back foot and hold, stretching your left hip.









Lower your chest to the floor. Place your arms out in front, palms facing up. Then bend your elbows until your fingertips touch your shoulders. Hold, then unfold your arms and straighten your body.








Bring your left knee forward, crossing it under your right. Sit on your buttocks.












Bring your left arm up and your right arm down, lock your fingers behind your shoulder blades and hold.













Slowly lean forward, dropping your head. Hold, then relax. Repeat the routine, starting with the left foot forward.









Photos by Matt Karas