Are you finding yourself sitting at a desk working on a computer a lot? Is your upper back quite tight and tense? Do you sometimes feel that backbends can be rather uncomfortable and overwhelming and you feel kind of stuck in the upper back region?
Let me tell you, you are definitely not the only one. In my classes, I can see a lot of people experiencing these symptoms on a daily basis. Our modern lifestyle often goes along with many hours spent seated in a hunched-over position which can lead to a great amount of tension especially in the upper back and the shoulder region. In severe cases the upper back can even become kyphotic, meaning that the upper back becomes permanently round and hunched over.
No more tight Shoulders
Of course, there are many different poses you can use to release tension in the upper back region and increase flexibility in the thoracic spine but this one here is one of my all-time favourites. In this pose you will experience a deep opening in-between the shoulder blades, increase flexibility in your upper back and get a nice stretch for the chest.
Start on all fours in table top position. Raise your right arm up and then bring your right hand underneath the left shoulder. Place the right shoulder and your head on the ground. Bring your left hand a bit more forward for more stability. (Please ignore the fact that on this photo I am totally holding up the left hand. Apparently I looked really funny on all the pictures with my right hand up.)
Extend your left leg, if possible hold your left foot with your right hand. Don`t worry if you cannot reach the hand tough, as long as your leg is straight and engaged you will be fine. Your extended leg needs to be engaged to avoid rolling over to the other side.
Turn your face up towards the ceiling so that the back of the head touches the ground. This is very important because otherwise, you won`t be able to open the upper body into a full twist.
Then open the left arm and bring it all the way to the right side. Make sure your shoulders and your neck are relaxed.
Use your Ujjayi breath to relax even deeper into the pose. In the beginning, you can hold the pose for 3-5 breaths and gradually extend as you feel comfortable.
Slowly bring the left hand back to the ground and gently come up onto all fours. You can release the shoulders by adding a couple of cat-and-cow movements. Then repeat on the other side.
Place a blanket on top of your mat to soften the surface. Make sure you are starting the pose by placing the hands at the top of the blanket so your shoulder will end up on the blanket rather than just the mat.
CONTRAINDICATIONS AND CAUTIONS:
This pose is not recommended for people suffering from slip disc in the neck, neck trauma, osteoporosis, and severe pain in shoulders, back or hips.