So here are some ways I have learned to love my shoulders:
***I am not a physical therapist or a doctor. None of this is meant to be prescriptive or diagnostic, simply informational.
1) Inner Body Bright: This is an expression used in Anusara Yoga to refer to the natural expansion of the inner and outer body when you take a deep breath in. The sides of the body naturally lengthen, the chest lifts, the armpits lift and your insides just feel "brighter". Anatomically, this helps lift the head of the armbone into a more optimal place in the shoulder socket. Try it for yourself by sitting or standing and taking a deep breath in. Do your shoulders natural float up a little (not in a shrugging kind of way where your neck tenses but in a supported-from-within-and-underneath kind of way)? I find that this is really important for me to do when my shoulders are dropped way down or forward (which really pulls on my neck in a not fun way).
2) Head of the armbones back: This is another expression used in Anusara yoga to refer to settling the "golf ball" part at the top of your humerus back into a more neutral place in the shoulder socket. This is NOT squeezing your shoulder blades together using the rhomboids. Head of the armbones forward (aka "Slump-asana" or rounding forward at the computer) can pull on your neck and that is one of the main reasons why I see a ton of people in my classes who complain of neck pain. There are of course many reasons for neck pain, but simply noticing the position of your shoulders and adjusting them, may help to address neck issues. Rounding the shoulders forward becomes a real problem when you try to weight bear on the hands or forearms. This can actually be really dangerous if done repetitively and your shoulders and rotator cuff muscles will not love you. Maybe try plank pose near a mirror and notice if your shoulders are rounding forward (your upper back will be in a dome shape instead of flat). One thing I love to do to practice taking the head of the armbones back is to stand with my back against a wall and take a big breath in to lift my shoulders from underneath and lengthen the sides of my body (inner body bright) and then draw the head of the armbones back so that they touch the wall. And then I just rest there for a minute or two with the back of my head and the back of my hands resting on the wall. My neck feels relaxed and I feel supported and open. When I'm lined up, energy just flows better in my body and I feel better.
3) Serratus support: The serratus anterior is a muscle connected to the upper ribs and shoulder blades. It often gets ignored (we don't engage it enough), especially when bearing weight on the upper body. I have found so much more freedom and ease in plank pose and dolphin pose simply by learning to engage the serratus. One thing I do to bring my awareness to this muscle is stand facing the wall with my hands like I'm doing chaturanga upright (next to chest, elbows bent) and I push into the wall and push up. In plank pose, pushing down and forward helps me find them. It just gives me so much more support. Awareness and engagement of this muscle is a conscious decision to embrace what supports me.
So see if you can be aware of your shoulders in your practice (especially in poses like plank, chaturanga and cobra) and offer them some love by bringing them into optimal alignment. By loving our bodies and serving their needs, we will receive the greatest benefit, freedom and enjoyment from them. The body is our vehicle to awakening!