So these aren't exactly the most glamorous yoga photos ever (!) but they show some really effective postures. So they're making up the next in our ‘yoga for hunched winter shoulders’ series.
If you picture how you might hunch your shoulders and cross your arms when you’re outside in cold weather - or the position your upper body might be in after you’ve been sitting at a computer for a while - there are a couple of things that tend to happen:
the muscles that draw your shoulder blades down and together get overstretched and weak from the shoulders constantly being slightly lifted and forwards
the muscles across the front of your shoulders/ chest can get tight and shortened.
So here are the two things I do over and over again to disrupt those postural habits. The top two photos are the same posture but on different sides, so you can see what I’m doing. Make sure the elbow of the arm on the floor is above the level of your shoulder- if it’s in line with your shoulder or below you won’t affect the muscles we’re trying to target. Start lying on your front and then super slowly and gently roll towards that side of your body.
You might find your body doesn’t roll as far to the side as mine does, or that it goes further. It doesn’t matter either way! Just be mindful that you’re rolling your whole body weight against your shoulder girdle, so while this is a great stretch for your pecs you do need to be gentle with it. Roll towards the arm on the floor until you feel the amount of stretch you want to feel in that side of your chest, and then hold there. Take a few deep breaths up into that side of your chest and then repeat on the other side. This should help relieve tension in the tight muscles in your chest.
The bottom photo here shows a simple locust pose. Make sure your palms are facing the floor, and as you lift up concentrate on squeezing your shoulder blades together and drawing them down your back away from your ears. This is a super simple but effective way to strengthen those muscles we’re trying to target in your upper back. Lift up for a few breaths, rest then repeat.
You could do these at home in five minutes, a few times a week. Try it for a month and see if you feel like you're standing up any taller.... And just ask if you have any questions!