Yoga poses to prevent shoveling injuries

I was shoveling about 10cm of snow last weekend and could feel my back and shoulders ache a bit. Luckily yoga can help strengthen the back and shoulders and improve flexibility to reduce the risk of injury. Here are a few poses for your neck, back and shoulders:

back&shoulders copy

1. Neck Release. Place your finger tips as far away beside you as possible. Bring your right ear towards your right shoulder and relax the head completely. Hold about 10 breaths then switch to the left.

2. Dolphin. Come onto your forearms and knees. Your elbows should be right under your shoulders. Clasp your hands. Lift your hips and walk your feet forward a bit if flexibility allows. Stay a few breaths then you can rest in childs pose. This pose builds upper body strength and stretches the hamstrings.

3. Cat cow. Begin on your hands and knees. Inhale belly down, head forward. Exhale round your back and relax your head. Continue for about 20 rounds to warm up the spine.

4. Chair. Stand with your feet hip width apart. Raise your arms up or have them parallel to the floor in front of you. Bend your knees insuring that they stay aligned with your feet. Hold the pose for a few breaths. This is one of the best yoga postures to strengthen the back.

5. Standing yoga mudra. Stand with your feet hip width apart. Clasp your hands behind your back and fold forward. Bend your knees if your hamstrings are tight. Stay about 10 breaths to stretch your shoulders, back and hamstrings.

6. Variation of locust. Lie on your stomach with your arms out front. Inhale reach your right arm and left leg up as well your chest and head. Exhale lower. Inhale switch the arm and leg and continue. This is another good pose to strengthen the back.

You can find some shoveling tips here.