I'm double-jointed in a lot of places, one of which is my shoulders. Every time I raise my arms straight over my head my shoulders dislocate. It's not really painful, just uncomfortable. It also makes doing yoga poses like Warrior 1 and Chair Pose difficult. Is there a way to keep this from happening, or a way to modify the pose so it doesn't happen?

Along the same lines, whenever I do Side Plank I'm placing a lot of weight on my wrists. They are also double-jointed, and it actually is quite painful to place weight on them. How can I modify this pose to alleviate the pain?

  • Any particular reason why you think you should try such a pose, given the risk of dislocating? Are there other exercises, possibly not Yoga, that would have a similar effect without dislocating your joints?
    – Ivo Flipse
    Feb 22, 2012 at 16:49
  • Yoga has just been a good cross-training exercise for me - seems to help relieve stiffness from running really well. It's not every pose, just the few that I listed. So worst case I guess I could just skip those.
    – Lauren
    Feb 23, 2012 at 15:16

2 Answers 2


Side Plank - To save your wrists you can brace yourself on your elbow and forearm, rather than on your hand.

Yoga - Given your lax or unstable joints, I would take a private lesson from a good yoga instructor to get modifications and to improve your alignments. Ask for postures or asanas that emphasize stability of the shoulder blade and strengthen the shoulders rather than emphasising flexibility. An instructor who teaches restorative yoga will probably be your best choice. If you have enough control with the overhead arm positions you could stop short of the position that causes your joints to dislocate or sublux.

The one thing you don't want to do is increase your joint instablility by continuing to repeat activities that cause them to dislocate. This will just stress your ligaments and tendons. Good luck.


Seems like you could try strengthening the muscles around the joints, but then again I'm no authority, and as previously suggested, I would talk with a seasoned teacher, or maybe even better a sports physiologist about how to do that in your specific case.

For side- plank, I would do it either with an elbow/forearm on the ground, or i would try bending the bottom leg at the knee and use that as a support with the knee and chin on the ground for support and less stressors.

If it was for plank and shoulders only, you could probably do a little bend in your arms to load the bicep/triceps more...

As for arms above head, is there a way to know when they'll dislocate, and stop before that? The meaning of for instance Warrior one, is to get a stable base and getting the energy from the ground up through the tips of the fingers. Stable base and reaching up, as stabilizes the center. The same feeling could probably be achieved with arms less than straight up.

If you're balancing in for instance tree- pose, would Y- shape arms work instead of I- shaped? That is with the arms up, but hands wide, instad of the "standard" arms up, hands together.

Many poses are designed for a specific purpose, but not all bodies are same, so making the same shape is not going to give the same resulting feeling for everyone. Yoga is generally more about feeling than the exact shape. Can you feel balance, rootedness, stability while balancing on one leg and expanding your body? Great! Maybe expansion is with arms to the sides instead of upwards?

It's very difficult to give more specific advices without seeing, so as pointed out earlier, see an instructor for a private session, and maybe also a sports physiologist.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.