I love practicing yoga but I also love taking a few stand alone stretches whenever possible. Arms and shoulders tend to carry a lot of tension and they rarely get the opportunity to release it, so I love incorporating a few simple stretches into my day whenever I can (while waiting for the kettle to boil or waiting for something to come out the printer to name a few!). Here are four of my favourite "do anywhere, anytime you have a few seconds" variations.
1) Eagle Arms: Wrap the arms around each other until maybe the palms of the hands touch and then gently lift the elbows so they are eye level. This can feel pretty intense if you've never tried it before so proceed with caution but the practice will make it worth it as I have yet to find a deeper way to stretch out the muscles around the backs of the shoulders.
2) Grabbing Opposite Fingers: Gently lift up one arm and reach it back, sending the opposite arm to meet it from underneath. If they are within reach, bring the fingers to clasp or just keep them reaching towards each other. Amazing stretch for the upper arm muscles as well as the front of the shoulder of the bottom arm.
3) Easy Stretch: Grab one elbow with the palm of your other hand over the head and gently pull it down behind you until you feel a stretch.
4) Side Stretch: Clasp the fingers together above your head and straighten the arms, bringing them alongside your ears and maybe even slightly behind the head if it feels nice. Then lift up tall and fold on over to one side keeping the heart rotating up and the body in one line.
It's always best to remain for at least a few full and deep rounds of breathing; and ofcourse, remember to practice on both sides.