Tingling/Numbness from poses - when to stop?

I get tingling sometimes in my hands when I have my arms extended above me when lying down. I know it’s because my shoulders are like rocks but I’m wondering if this is a sign to stop or not.

In the past I’ve also experienced numbness in my pinky finger and hand on the left side when doing shoulder stand. Apparently that’s a specific nerve pathway. I’m wondering if this means I need to stop/not practice these poses? Or, slowly build up to it by releasing all the tension in my shoulders first?


1 Like

Hi there.

Good questions. Those two issues definitely indications of muscle tightness in your shoulders, as you suggest, and likely your arms and hands too. There are many lines of energy and force running through the shoulders and into the fingers and when they tighten they can cause numbness and tingling at any spot in that line.

You do need to be careful not to push it too much or for too long, but mild tingling and numbness can be ok. In fact, it may be necessary, at least for now, in order to stretch the muscles that are tight. When you think about it, if a tight muscle is impinging on a nerve or blood vessel, when you stretch it there’s a good chance it will impinge a little more before it releases.

So experiment with the angle of stretch, intensity and length of hold until you find something that causes less of tingling and numbness and more of the release. And most important of all, do these stretches A LOT. And doubly most important, figure out what you’re doing (posture or stress related) that is causing the tension in the shoulders and try to work with that.

1 Like

Thanks for your advice David, will do. I’m glad you don’t recommend stopping altogether as I know that my shoulders store all my tension in my body and there’s a lot of baggage in there waiting to be released! I will go slowly and steadily, ensuring I do some stretches each day for this specific area.

1 Like

Tingling in extremities can also be signals of insulin resistance or even dehydration. Yoga is a good way to get in touch with your body and ferret these symptoms out.


Thanks Kate, absolutely agree!

1 Like