Many of you spend hours sitting at a desk, hunched over in your chair, then you take a break for lunch, sit down again to eat, head back to your desk staring at your computer screen, then after work you walk to your car or bus to sit as you travel home, next stop is your couch (sitting again) to watch tv, etc etc. So much of the day is spent sitting down! No wonder our bodies become so inflexible and we learn bad habits (such as slouching) which can lead to tightness in the shoulders and chest, hips and hamstrings and weakness in the upper back, core, low back and glutes. There are many ways to prevent this from happening but in today’s post I will be sharing with you some stretches for the shoulders (as requested by my cousin Billy!) as many people suffer from tight shoulders.
You may think that you don’t have time to stretch or don’t have enough room in your office or home to stretch but most of these stretches you can do sitting in a chair! Benefits of stretching the shoulders include increased circulation, range of motion, flexibility, and reduced stress, so what are you waiting for?? Try these stretches at least three times a week, it will only take a few minutes and you can say you did yoga (all these stretches are yoga poses as well!)
Cow Face Pose
From a comfortable standing or seated position, stretch your arms out shoulder height in a T-shape. Rotate your right hand to face behind you, so that you feel your shoulder joint rotating forward. Reach your right hand behind you, bending at the elbow and finding the middle of your shoulder blades with your palm facing away from you. Now reach your left arm overhead, rotating the palm to face behind you. Bend at your elbow and clasp your right fingertips or hand. If you cannot reach your hand, use a towel or strap so both hands have something to clasp. Release and switch sides.
From a comfortable standing or seated position, hold your arms out straight in front of you with your palms facing down. Cross your right arm over your left. Bend both elbows so your fingertips point up and then try to cross your forearms and palms. Lift your elbows up to the height of your shoulders and press your forearms forward so your upper back rounds. Release and switch sides. If your shoulders are too tight to cross forearms and palms, grab for opposite shoulders instead.
This one you will need to get down on your hands and knees but you can modify this stretch by placing your hands on your desk or a table and sticking your butt out and flattening your back, looks something like the photo below….
Starting on your hands and knees, place your elbows on the ground underneath your shoulders. Place your palms together. Tuck your toes under, lifting your knees off the ground. Once your knees are up, begin to push your chest toward your thighs. If your hamstrings are on the tight side, bend your knees to take some of the stretch away from your legs and avoid rounding your back. Try not to let your shoulders push past your elbows. Let your head relax down between your biceps.
From a standing position with your feet shoulder distance, interlace your fingers at your low back. Stretch your knuckles down toward the floor, straightening your arms, and then begin to lift your hands away from your lower back. If it is hard to interlace your fingers, grab a strap or towel with both hands, keeping your hands shoulder distance. If you would like to deepen the stretch, close your palms together with your fingers interlaced and fold forward over your legs. Obviously we all aren’t this flexible so don’t worry so much about how close your nose is to your knees, instead focus on the stretch in your shoulders and chest, so this is another option…
I checked out this website for detailed descriptions of each stretch…
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/378110-shoulder-stretches-for-yoga/#ixzz1rxK4tUoN
There are many other stretches for the shoulders but I thought I would show you a few simple ones that you can do with little equipment, limited space and in 5 minutes or less. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds or 5 deep breaths before moving onto the next one. Do these stretches at least three times a week for best results.
Any suggestions for shoulder stretches you love (or hate)? There are some great YouTube videos that will take you through some shoulder and neck stretches you can do at your desk. Here is one by Rodney Yee (a famous yogi) that I just did and wow what a release! Check it out–> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLPfP1oRJFM
On a side note, this is my last weekend of yoga teacher training! I can’t believe how fast these last 8 months (or 12 weekends) have flown by! I feel truly blessed to have been a part of this amazing program and thank all of you who have been so supportive along the way! What a journey and I still can’t believe after this weekend I will be a certified yoga instructor!!??
Stay tuned for information on when and where I will be teaching…
Have a great weekend everyone!