Learning about the shoulders in my shoulder opening workshop at Dream Space Yoga this past week. Shiva Yoga Intensive. Backbends are the primary poses in our yoga practice that we use to open the shoulders. We are usually focused on opening the shoulders in extension or flexion, in order to increase our range of motion. If we have full range of motion at the shoulder join we can prevent injuries to the neck and upper back. If you want to be able to do more advanced backbends in your yoga practice it is essential that you open your shoulders.