Double Flat Needle Pose

written by
Joel Runyon
last updated
October 7, 2021

Contrary to what you might believe, the double flat needle pose has nothing to do with sewing and thankfully does not require any thread or needles. It will, however, give you a nice stretch through your back and help open up your tight shoulders. 

Made popular by the practice of yoga, the double flat needle is a simple, yet effective, twisting stretch that is great for beginners or seasoned athletes alike. Considered a relaxing pose as well, the double flat needle pose not only has physical benefits but mental ones as well. 

Most people use this stretch as a warm up before starting their workout. It might also be used to specifically stretch out the shoulders or trapezius muscles if you experience tightness in either of those areas. Lastly, if you do practice yoga, this is a pose that can prepare you for more advanced poses that involve the same muscles. 

If you would like to include this stretch into your daily or weekly stretching routine, keep reading through the article. Below, we will cover how to properly perform this pose specifically covering points of performance. We will also discuss the benefits of this pose. Last, but not least, we will provide ways to modify this stretch if you would like to decrease the degree of difficulty. 

What is the Double Flat Needle Pose Pose? 

The double flat needle pose is a stretch that involves both arms. It’s great for stretching out both shoulders at the same time, so if you find yourself short on time, this is the stretch for you! You also will not need any extra equipment other than maybe a yoga mat if you do not want to lay directly on the floor. 

To start this pose, come into a kneeling position. From here, move into Tabletop. In Tabletop position, take care to set up properly. Place your hands on the ground underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Keep your gaze towards the ground as a way to keep your neck in proper alignment. Lastly, always pay attention to your core. We suggest pulling your bellybutton in towards your spine as a way to engage these muscles. This is a solid Tabletop position. 

From Tabletop, take your right hand and slide it underneath your left arm. Your palm will be on the ground. Support yourself with your right hand and knees, then take your left hand and slide it under your opposite arm in a similar fashion with your palm on the ground. Move down to the ground in a lying position and relax into the stretch. 

As always, we recommend breathing deeply to get the most out of the stretch. As you intentionally inhale, think about expanding your body. With an exhale, sink deeper into the stretch. This may be a very subtle movement. Hold here in this position for as long as needed. 

Double Flat Needle Pose Benefits

The double flat needle pose is a great stretch for your shoulders. If you frequently experience tightness in these joints, you are not alone. It is very common to have cranky shoulders. This stretch will target those tight muscles and help loosen them up - especially when paired with intentional breathing. 

Not only is this an effective stretch for the shoulders, it will also help relieve tension throughout the back, specifically between the shoulder blades. Chances are you will feel a stretch down into your arm muscles as well. 

Anytime you pair a stretch with deep breathing, it can be considered a stress relieving pose as well. The benefits of deep breathing are well-studied and cannot be understated. This is just another reason why stretching has so many benefits for both the brain and the body. 

Double Flat Needle Pose Modifications

Because this pose requires both arms stretching at the same time, it might feel a bit too intimidating to attempt, especially if you are just beginning a stretching routine. There are ways to make this stretch fit your needs and ability level. You just have to choose the right one for you. 

The first would be to stick to a traditional Thread The Needle shoulder stretch. This stretch only works one arm at a time. You will follow the same setup as the double flat needle, but you will only take one arm under the opposite and stay elevated on the knees. Bring the working arm’s shoulder down to the ground and breathe deeply. This is a gentle, calming twist that allows you to work your way up to the more advanced double flat needle. 

You can also attempt the double flat needle pose but stay up on your knees as well. This allows you a bit more control as you can modulate how deeply your body gets into the pose. If your knees hurt from being on the ground, feel free to use a blanket, pad, or towel to provide a bit of a cushion.


double flat needle pose demo

Move from a kneeling to a tabletop position.

Reach underneath your opposite shoulder and place your palm on the ground.

Reach out horizontally with your other arm and place that palm on the ground.

Move down into a lying position and relax into the stretch.

written by
Joel Runyon

Joel is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE and the founder of MoveWell. Joel founded MoveWell after sustaining an injury while running an ultra marathon on every continent. Joel is writes about mobility, pain management and health and wellness overall.

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