How Joan Healed Her Shoulder Pain with Yoga

by YogaNorman on January 22, 2013

in Healing, Pain Reduction, Rotator Cuff, Shoulder Pain, Success Stories, Testimonials, Yoga

Subject: Rotator Cuff Injury

Dear YogaNorman,                                                           Mon, Nov 12, 2012

I found you while googling to self-heal myself from rotator cuff injury while executing chaturanga inappropriately (I was new to yoga and had picked Ashtanga yoga because I loved that it’s so physical but of course I wasn’t ready because I was new to yoga. But I was hooked and it took me two months to finally execute chaturanga which I absolutely relished). So finally due to inexperience and partly lack of mindfulness, I pulled some muscles two weeks ago.

Week one, I completely abstain from exercise. That almost killed me no kidding. Week two I resumed yoga practice but stuck to poses that wouldn’t bear weight on my arms. I also found some relief working with a resistance band.

Then I found your site and found relief with the triangular pose.


1. One site suggested relief from shoulderstand while my yogini friend advised against it. What’s your take on this?

2. Is it a good idea to completely abstain from physical activities (that will kill me!) or do I find relief from other types of yoga, such as anusara or stick to yoga poses that won’t bear weight on my shoulder and arms? This will be considered rehab right, right?

3. Should I even consider seeing an osteopath if, say, I keep self-healing with triangular pose?

4. What else should I do to recover asap? Perhaps this is a sign I should return to the basic and not attempt something so strenuous (though I totally love it).

Thank you, Norman,……………..Joan from Singapore


Hi Joan,                                                                              Tue, 13 Nov 2012

Nice to learn that you found some relief for your injured shoulder on my site with the triangular pose.

The two most visited topics on my site sent by search engines are for shoulder and knee injuries. Unfortunately, many of the people searching for relief from these injuries have been trying to solve their problems for a long time. Fortunately, some ultimately heal themselves with yoga, and as a result, continue to use yoga healing techniques for the rest of their lives. 

While I can understand how a person can injure herself in the heat of a sport’s competition, it saddens me to see so many suffering from injuries as a result of practicing yoga.

People are not supposed to get hurt doing yoga. Take a look at this article.    How Not to Hurt Yourself Doing Yoga

So we can say it is best not to hurt yourself in the first place.

In answer to your question number 3, I would say that as long as you are healing, you probably will not need to see a doctor. And then I would add as long as you are not continuing to hurt yourself.

Here is a testimonial by a lady who talks about her experience with pain and an osteopath vs Yoga: How Alida Overcame the Pain & Spinal Misalignment of Scoliosis.

If you read these articles, you will see that my work entails helping students to heal themselves with yoga, which is the opposite of hurting yourself doing yoga. Please undertand that I am not blaming you for getting hurt, but this would never happen in my class because I don’t put my students at risk.

I think that if you read the articles including the “Comments,” and look at the videos on my site, you will understand more about healing yourself.

I never tell anyone to stop all activities when injured. What I do say is learn how to move without aggravating the condition to promote healing.

See  Self-Heal Your Back Pain Yoga VIDEO Pt 1  and  Reduce & Heal Your Knee Pain  and you will learn a lot about how to heal yourself. While everything in knee healing will not apply to your shoulder, a lot will.

So, Joan, I hope all of this helps. Please let me know if you have more questions.



Hi Norman,                                                                         Wed, Nov 14, 2012 

Thank you for your response. I really appreciate it.

How often do I do the triangular pose? Is there a recommendation? I do it three times a day and count to 10 ujjayi breaths? Does that sound right? How should my shoulder feel? My body weight is mostly on my crown right? I am familiar with this pose because it’s the precursor or headstand.

It’s heartening to hear that it’s alright to move sensibly, in such a way not to aggravate injury.

Thank you…………………. Joan from Singapore


Hi Joan,                                                                               Sat, 17 Nov 2012

I recommend that you do the pose frequently by leaning on elbows in the forearms-in-triangular-position against the wall while standing to speed up your progress. See Self-Healing Shoulder Pain with Yoga on my blog.

The value of doing it this way is that you need no yoga mat or clothes or an empty stomach as you would for regular yoga practice.

Also, you can have all of the pressure go from the elbows to the shoulders.

To quote from the article, “The maneuver, in effect, trains a muscle below the shoulder blade, the subscapularis, to take over the job of the injured muscle, the supraspinatus, that normally raises the arm from below chest height to above the shoulder,” says Brody.

To get more effect from the precursor to the HeadStand, you need to keep walking closer to the chest with the knees and then when you can do it with enough control, and without danger of hurting yourself, you begin raising your legs off of the floor to eventually go into a full HeadStand. All the while getting to this place, and in the full HeadStand, you will be putting more and more weight on the shoulders to strengthen and heal them.

Joan, I hesitate to tell you to go into the full HeadStand because you have already injured your shoulder doing yoga. This is why against the wall is safer for you.

I assume that you have done the HeadStand before, correct? Did you kick up into it or in anyway jump up into the HeadStand? If so, don’t try this with an injured shoulder.

The way I teach HeadStand and ShoulderStand is to go into and out of them so slowly that at any point you can stop and go in the other direction. See Yoga ShoulderStand VIDEO  This way there is no danger of hurting yourself.

If you can do this with the HeadStand, and use good judgement, then eventually you can slowly increase the pressure you are putting on your shoulders.

Has your shoulder been steadily improving?

I wish you success,……………… Norman


Dear Norman,                                                                     Mon, Dec 17, 2012

I was taking stock of my life this year (time flies, doesn’t it?) and I want to thank you and all the strangers who responded to my rotator cuff injury email with compassion and concern.

I’m fine now and have resumed yoga practice at home though I try not to be obsessed about it and am alternating yoga with a resistance band work I do.

Happy hols to you and your loved ones………….. Joan from Singapore


Hi Joan,                                                                                 Mon, 17 Dec 2012

I had just been thinking to write to you and ask how you were doing.

Thank you for the update.

Also, I had been wondering if you would feel okay if I published our correspondence on my blog in order to inspire and instruct others to heal themselves?

I can guide a person towards self-healing but it means far more to know of someone who healed herself.

Ideally, to see the first and last name as well as a picture of the one who healed herself will help another to believe she can do it also. However, if you want more privacy, I could use just your first name and location, or just your first name with or without a photo.

Often, an injured person does not spend enough time practicing that which will help her. Or she tries too many things at once and dilutes the value of any single therapy.

In any case, I would not publish your email, unless you wanted to correspond with others. If you feel comfortable with this, let me know.

Almost from the beginning of our communicating, I regretted that we did it by personal email instead on my website where it could have benefited many others.

It is a compliment to your consciousness that you bothered to send a thank you after you felt well. Gratitude is a higher quality than physical healing.

Thank you for the feedback and Namasté,………. Norm


Hi Norman,                                                                          Tue, Dec 18, 2012

Thanks for running this by me.

If this can inspire and help somebody, it’s a good idea to publish excerpts of our correspondence.

If you don’t mind, I like to be known as “Joan from Singapore”. No photos please. I do not have frontal shots of myself and my family anywhere online.

Thank you very much and happy hols to you again…………. Joan from Singapore

Hi Joan,                                                                               Tue, 18 Dec 2012

1. “Joan from Singapore”. will be just fine.

2. Can you say what ultimately worked for you, or seemed to work the best?

I appreciate all of your feedback. I am sure that others can benefit from your experience.

Thank you and Namasté,…………..Norm


Hi Norman,                                                                         Wed, Dec 19, 2012

Yes “Joan from Singapore” please thank you. I have forgotten to mention, please do not publish my email address. Well I’ve chosen not to write to you from your website because I value my privacy.

What really worked for me was the standing triangular pose against the wall. The relief was immediate. How miraculous.

I also have a resistance band I worked with. That really helped, too. The band is named Loopz, developed by a former Singaporean dancer. Google it and you can find info on the band. Today, I alternate the band with yoga practice at home. I actually was on the band for a year before I found what I really loved, Ashtanga yoga (Hatha never quite cut it for me unfortunately).

Thank you………… Joan from Singapore 


Please feel free to ask questions and make comments below, which will require you to sign in with your name and email address in order to prevent spam comments. Your email will not be posted on this blog nor will it ever be sold or otherwise distributed without your permission. I dislike spam as much as you do…Norm


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Donna February 14, 2014 at 6:48 am

I am wondering how long you suggest to hold the standing triangular pose to gain the maximum benefits.

I just received an MRI report that shows significant damage. I had shoulder surgery for a dislocating shoulder 27 years ago and am not eager to repeat the experience.

I have been practicing yoga for 50 years so I am able to hold the pose for a long time, if necessary.

THANK YOU for giving me hope that it may be possible to avoid surgery.

Norm February 14, 2014 at 9:23 pm

I have mostly recommended that people practice more frequently rather try to see how long they can hold the pose. Many say that they get relief in as little as 30 seconds.

For you I would say, “Relax and experiment.” Don’t push or force. Be patient and optimistic. Work with your mind and Pranic energy.

You will probably get greater understanding and inspiration if you go to all of the links in this article as well as the links in the articles you are sent to. For instance, the original Ancient Moves for Orthopedic Problems, talks about Dr. Loren Fishman, himself, as well as 90% of his patients healing their shoulders without surgery using this technique.

Please let me know if I can help you further. I wish you great success.

Maya April 13, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Hi Norman,
I found your videos on neck and shoulder exercises in youtube. I have tingling, numbness in my hand and pain in my shoulder joint/arm due to neck problem. Do you have any specific suggestions in addition to those videos?

Norm April 19, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Hi Maya,
Assuming that you have done all the suggestions on this post, I suggest that you add:

Hands, Shoulders, Upper Back, Chest, Wrists, Fingers – VIDEO This will loosen up the areas connected to your neck and shoulders.

How to Stay in Shape With Very Little Effort: Yoga Sun Salutation-VIDEO If it is painful or difficult for you to put weight up your hands and arms, just do the first part of about 5+ minutes before you put your hands on the floor.

Self-Heal Your Back Pain Yoga VIDEO Parts 1, 2, 3 These postures will help you to relax and reduce pain and promote healing. If you are interested in the complete Heal Your Back Now! class, you can Buy and Download the AUDIO MP3 now or order the DVD

Yoga ShoulderStand – VIDEO You have to be very careful with this pose. Do not try to throw yourself into it. If you begin and feel pain, come back and don’t try it. If you can go easily into and out of it, you will find that it stretches your neck and takes pressure off of your nerves in your neck and spine. Without seeing you personally, I cannot say that you are ready to do this. Perhaps you can get an opinion from a good yoga teacher where you live.

Yoga Spinal Twist in a Chair-VIDEO This pose will loosen up the spine to improve circulation and take pressure off the nerves.

I have given you a lot to work with here. Always you can get guidance and inspiration by reading the comments here and on my YogaNorman YouTube Channel by those who have succeeded in Self-Healing with Yoga.

I wish you great success. Please let me know if I may help you further,

David January 31, 2016 at 12:34 pm

Hi Norman

When doing the triangular pose how much weight should be on your head/neck? Should you be holding yourself up as much as possible with your shoulders?

I am new to yoga and want to make sure I am posing correctly to strengthen my rotator cuff tear.


Norm January 31, 2016 at 8:37 pm

Hi David,

If you are asking about the triangular pose against the wall, you put no weight at all on you head/neck. You just lean against the wall in a very relaxed way so that the weight of your body goes from your elbows to your shoulders to work and strengthen the muscles around your shoulder and allow your shoulder to heal. Be gentle and experiment to find if it feels better to put more or less weight on the shoulders.

If you will read all of this post, the links, and comments, you will get a better idea of how to do it and what will work best for you.

I wish you great success in your self-healing with yoga,

Gail Thomson January 7, 2017 at 8:25 am

Hi Norm
I have a torn tendon in my shoulder that I have been struggling with for over a year now. You caution that you should not have any pain while executing this move. I feel some discomfort, is that okay?

Gail Thomson

Norm January 15, 2017 at 7:29 pm

It is important that you practice in a relaxed way without hurrying or trying to force progress. Be patient. Experiment. Then you can better tell if you can add more pressure of if you need to use less pressure. Notice how your shoulder feels before and after you practice and even the next day.

For more help with your condition and for a better understanding of how to practice yoga, go to

How Not to Hurt Yourself Doing Yoga

Please let me know if you have more questions. I wish you success.

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