It is all too common to find stiffness, aches and pains, and general immobility in the upper body. We all spend entirely too much time hunched over some piece of technology or another. Give yourself a few minutes to work through these 7 stretches to improve mobility in your shoulders, upper, mid and lower back.
1. Cat/Cow Variation – Begin on hands and knees, walking the hands a couple of inches past the shoulders to widen the stance. As you inhale, drop the belly, lift the gaze and curl the tailbone up. Exhale to round through the spine, and press the hips back to a child’s pose. Keeping the palms as they are to get a stretch through the shoulders and arm pits. Move through 5 or so rounds with the breath.
2. Child’s Pose Variation – Keeping the knees and feet as they are, sink the hips all the way back towards the heels. Lift up on the fingertips, elbows off the mat. Drop the forehead to the ground. Think of pushing the armpits to the mat. Hold for several breaths.
3. Rabbit Pose – Staying where you are, bring the hands back to grab the heels. Rock gently onto the crown of the head. Lift the seat off the heels, while keeping hold of them.
4. Camel Variation – Sit up on heels. Bring the left hand back behind you. Then sweep the right hand up and over as you lift the hips up. Feeling a stretch in the thighs along with the back bend. Lower the hips and hand and then alternate.
5. Puppy Pose – Come back to table top. Keep the hips stacked directly over the knees as you walk the hands ahead of you until the forehead comes to rest on the ground. Melt the chest down. For a more active version, keep the elbow elevated off the mat, pushing hands into the floor. Draw the low belly in.
6. Low Lunge with Back Bend – Lift back to table top before stepping the right foot to the top of the mat. Push into the feet to lift up to low lunge. For this variation, open the arms out to a cactus shape with elbows bend and fingers reaching up. Stay firm and strong through the core. Squeeze the shoulder blades back behind you for a gentle back bend.
7. Humble Warrior – Circle the palms down, tuck the back toes and lift the left knee up. Spinning the left foot parallel to the short edge of the mat. Lift up to Warrior 2, then bring the hands back behind you. Interlacing the fingers and opening the heart. Then dive down inside of the front leg. Reaching the knuckles up towards the sky.
Repeat 6 and 7 through on the other side.
These poses come from a 15 minute video sequence on my channel. Practice along with me below.