Posted on Jan 23, 2023

Shoulder Bursitis is a frequent ailment that we observe in a number of patients.  It is uncomfortable and, if addressed, can result in movement restrictions and persistent shoulder discomfort. Yoga Therapy may be a highly effective supplementary treatment for shoulder bursitis; here is a primer on dealing  who have this condition.

What exactly is Bursitis?

A bursa is a tiny, fluid-filled sac found between two biological parts, such as muscles, bones, and tendons. Bursae function as cushions to minimise friction between two surfaces and facilitate smooth movement. When one of these sacs gets inflamed, bursitis develops, causing severe shoulder discomfort.

Why does Shoulder Bursitis occur?

Shoulder bursitis is typically brought on by uncomfortable or repetitive overuse of the shoulder joint, as well as other shoulder-area injuries. A common cause of shoulder injury is subacromial bursitis, which is caused by an impingement of the bursa between the rotator cuff tendons and the acromion (the bone at the head of the shoulder joint). Individuals who practise a great deal of vinyasa, such as "scooping through" into the up-dog and highplank/low plank postures, frequently encounter this condition. Bursitis is frequently accompanied by rotator cuff injuries and tendinitis
  • Shoulder Bursitis Manifestations
  • Pain developing gradually in the shoulder region
  • The discomfort is exacerbated by pressure on the afflicted side (such as lying down)
  • When you raise your arm over your head, the agony worsens. Movement aggravates discomfort.
  • Rigidity and some regional edoema

Yoga therapy for bursitis of the shoulder

The shoulder has the largest range of motion of any joint in the body. Due of its mobility, it is susceptible to damage or degeneration.


The purpose of yoga treatment for shoulder bursitis is to strengthen and mobilise the shoulder. Numerous postures use the Hasta Mudra (hand motions), such as lifting the arms, interlacing the fingers, pushing the palms together, holding the hands behind the back, etc. The majority of these hand gestures may be performed in both standing and seated positions.
Stability is achieved in yoga treatment by using props such as a strap, a stick, the wall, etc.
As yoga helps restore alignment and promotes mobility, the postures are held for an extended period of time.By increasing one's awareness of the shoulders, yoga helps to decrease shoulder stiffness and discomfort.
However, intense discomfort should be tolerated until the inflammation decreases. Consult a physician to determine the extent of the damage and the range of motion.
As recuperation may be prolonged if the bursa becomes inflamed and swollen, it is important to constantly engage in restorative postures and rest.

11 yoga positions for shoulder discomfort

If you suffer from shoulder discomfort, you may ease it with yoga. Here are eleven stretching and strengthening exercises to help treat your shoulder ache gradually.
Note that motions should be performed on both sides to maintain bodily balance. 

1. Shoulder rolls

A series of basic shoulder rolls is the easiest method for regaining mobility and flexibility. Stand or sit so that your arms are free to dangle at your sides. Roll your shoulders forward and up as you inhale. Continue rolling them back and down as you breath.
Perform this action five times while tracking your breath, and then reverse it (inhale back and up, then forward and down). Finish with five additional forward and up rolls, followed by five back and down rolls.

2. Neck rolls

Sit or stand with ease. Exhale and tuck the chin into the chest. Roll your left ear to your left shoulder and stop for a breath as you inhale. Exhale and return your chin to the centre, then repeat on the opposite side.
Perform five neck rolls on each sides.

3. Wall extension

Lean your right arm and hip on the wall. Raise your arm as high as possible and twist your shoulder such that your palm faces the wall. Place your palm against the wall. You should feel a significant stretch across your shoulder joint and pectoral muscles as you begin to move your right hand gently behind your back.
If you have a frozen shoulder or a tear, this motion may be limited; thus, continue with caution. Continue on the left.

4. Downward-facing dog at the wall

Downward-facing dog at the wall provides the same advantages as classic downward-facing dog, but without the wrist strain. Place your palms on the wall and move your feet back (while sliding your hands down the wall) until your body forms an L.
Hug your forearms such that the eyes of your elbows begin to turn upward. Relax your shoulder blades on your back and stretch your head crown towards the wall. If your hamstrings are tight, bend your knees and draw your navel into your spine to support your lower back and prevent drooping.
Take 10 whole breaths here, and then move towards the wall to exit.

5. Fingers to elbow

While seated with a straight back, lift your right arm above your head. Reach the palm of your hand to the middle of your shoulder blades by bending your elbow. Relax your upper shoulder blades. Place your left hand on top of your right hand and take 10 deep breaths.
Modify this by placing your hand on top of your head or on your shoulder. Continue on the left.

6. Hands placed behind the back

Maintain an upright stance with a tall spine. Inhale, then as you exhale, clasp your hands together behind your back. If this is too much, you can bend your elbows or separate your hands and lay them on the small of your back.
If you desire a deeper stretch, inhale deeply and reach your hands to the ground, then exhale and fold forward with your spine stretched. Keep your neck extended and your shoulder blades back; clasped hands can reach the heavens. Before leaving the posture, take five to ten deep breaths, regardless of the choice you pick.

7. Insert the needle into the spool

Begin on your hands and knees with your wrists immediately under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Inhale and extend your right arm upward. Inhale and weave your right arm under your left hand as you exhale (hips stay high with knees on the ground). The head and shoulder are positioned on the ground.
If the initial depth is too great, you can rest on your right forearm or a block. The left arm can remain stationary or stretch in front of the body. Take 10 deep breathes. Press into your left hand to rise, and then switch sides.

8. Eagle's wings

You can either sit or stand while performing this workout. Extend your right arm in front of you with a 90-degree elbow bend. Wrap your left forearm around your right arm by passing your left arm underneath the right. Your palms may contact, but you should not insist on it.
Inhale and raise your elbows while relaxing the shoulders' apexes. Exhale and pull your hands away from you with care. Remain in this position for 10 complete breaths, ensuring that your shoulders remain relaxed. Let go and repeat on the opposite side.

9. Heart-melting pose

Begin on your hands and knees (pad your knees if they are sensitive). Maintaining a position in which your hips are precisely above your knees, move your hands forward as you relax your chest towards the ground. Shoulder blades will converge and relax toward the hips, down the back.
If this is difficult or impossible, there are other alternatives. Widening your arms and extending one arm forward at a time relieves strain from your shoulders, as does bending your other arm and resting your forehead on your forearm. Alternately, you can drop yourself to your forearms or place blocks or a bolster under your chest for more support. Whatever method you select, take ten deep breaths. To exit, slowly walk hands back.

10. Arm positioned across the chest

While seated comfortably, raise your right arm to shoulder height with the palm facing forward. While sitting tall, cross your right arm over your chest and support it with your left arm.
If it feels pleasant, while taking five full breaths, gaze to the right. Releasing the right arm, repeat with the left.

11. Fish pose with support

Supported fish posture utilises two blocks, one at the highest setting to support the head and the other at the midway height level with the shoulder blades. Place the blocks on the ground and lower yourself gently until you are resting on them (this may take some adjusting). If your back hurts, you may either keep your knees bent or extend your legs long on the mat. Stay and breathe for at least two minutes. Allow your body to completely relax. To exit the prone position, roll carefully to one side or engage your core and steadily walk yourself up.
This position may be incorporated into a yin yoga practise. The focus of Yin yoga is connective tissues, such as tendons and ligaments. Long-held poses do not demand muscular engagement yet are nonetheless held for extended periods. This kind of yoga employs moderate tension to stretch and strengthen connective tissues. It can be an excellent treatment choice for frozen shoulder or shoulder discomfort resulting from reduced movement.