Three Tips to Open Your Shoulders

Poor posture while sitting at a desk or driving can create tightness in the front chest, back pain, and other physical side effects. Here are three stretches to open your upper arms and front chest, engaging and strengthening your back, and improve your breathing.  Try them out and start improving your posture and your health today!

 

1.  Shoulder Stretch at a Wall:P1070605
Stand with one side facing the wall. Take your arm behind you palm up, little finger side of the hand on the wall. Make sure your arm is as high as your shoulder.  Press your hand into the wall and pull as if you were to drag your hand forward to engage the muscles.  Then lean forward and slightly turn away from the wall until you feel a stretch.
Variations and Modifications:
a.) Step the foot closest to the wall forward and lunge.
b.) Work with your elbow bent at a corner or door jam. Make sure your elbow is the height of your shoulder.
c.) Put your palm flat on the wall.

 

 

2. Lay Over Two Blocks:P1070160
Sit with your knees bent, feet on the floor, and two blocks behind you.  Lift your chest and ease yourself back until one block is under the bottom tips of your shoulder blades and place the other block under your head.  Start with the blocks on the lowest height first.  You can turn them as you open.  Please note that if your upper back is very tight you may need more support under your head. Either turn the block higher or use a blanket for more support. Stretch your legs straight, engage them from time to time rooting the thighs toward the floor and extend out through your feet. Lay there and breathe.
Variations and Modifications:
a.) Put weight on the thighs.
b.) As your upper back opens, lower the block under your head.
c.) Do the same pose with the legs in Virasana.

 

3. Purvottanasana:P1070181
Sit with your legs in front of you.  Reach your arms behind you, palms down, fingers toward your feet.  Press down through your arms, lift your chest.  Then lift your hips.  Breathe into your chest and let it open.
Variations and Modifications:
a.) If your shoulders are  tighter, turn your fingers to face away from you.
b.) Do the pose with bent knees like an upward facing table.

I’d love to hear from you, please share your questions and your results in the comment section below.

 

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