Let me start this yoga sequence post with a declaration of sorts…..
Every single person on the planet needs to do this type of work. Period. Drop the mic. And that includes you.
Like the title of this post states, today’s sequence has a two part goal.
Stretch the Chest.
Open the Shoulders.
Okay cool Allie, I can read, but why does every person need it. And what if I feel pretty damn open in my chest + shoulders, do I still need it?
Yes, you still need it and here’s why.
Our ENTIRE LIFE is one of forward movement. Let’s take a moment to think about how we live, how we maneuver through everyday tasks, and become more aware of our body’s shape + actions.
Most of us drive a vehicle, which involves a steering wheel + your hands on it, which equals a rounding of the shoulders, closing off of the chest, and a general forward motion of the body.
Most of us wash dishes, do laundry, cook our meals and eat our meals. Envision your body in this shape, what do your shoulders look like, how closed off is your chest in these moments.
Most of us use a smartphone, a computer, or a tablet to communicate, entertain and do work. What shape is your body mimicking in these moments.
And lastly – we sleep.
Most of us don’t sleep directly on our backs, face up, shoulders rolling back and chest spreading + opening. Most of us roll to our sides, sleep on our bellies, or make a shape somewhere in-between.
…… are you starting to catch my drift as to why EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING needs to work on opening + stretching the
Chest + Shoulders.
I think we’re now all in agreement – yeah?
Today’s simple sequence is comprised of beautiful yoga postures to start the conversation of opening + stretching. We want to encourage the shoulders to open and soften, while the chest expands and stretches.
These postures can be done together, alone or weaved into a personal yoga practice/teaching. I offer these to you as a simple way to begin your journey.
I will be using two yoga props for this sequence, a block + a strap. If you don’t have these epic yoga tools, get yourself some by clicking the links below.
And now let’s stop the chatting and start the opening + stretching!
- Hold a strap wider than shoulder-width distance & start with the strap resting atop your thighs
- Inhale breath brings your strap up towards the sky
- Exhale breath brings the strap overhead and down towards the ground
- Do this 5-10x to awaken the shoulders + expand the chest
- This exercise is a wonderful tool to do daily or add into your yoga/exercise practice
- Do this posture after warming up the body or do it at 50% if the body is not warm yet
- Choose forehead to floor/block or chin to the floor (this will deepen the posture)
- Take childs pose + prop elbows onto blocks (bend arms + send thumbs towards neck) if the posture is too intense
- Do focus on keeping hips over knees
- and always breathe…..
Shoulder Floor Opener
- The extended arm MUST be in alignment with the shoulder socket
- Do keep the head relaxing towards the ground or prop onto a block to relax
- Choose to keep the back leg bent (like shown), straight or stacked atop the other leg
- Stay incredibly aware if you’ve gone too deep & simply back off
- Use this posture to find a deep, but therapeutic stretch
- Do this posture after warming up the body – strengthening + opening
- Start with knees together + feet together
- Always breathe here & recognize if you lose the breath (if so, back out and move slower)
- Choose to do this posture at 30% or 110% – do what feels good here, focus on the stretch + strength, not the shape
Related: Bow Pose Video Tutorial
- Do this posture towards the end of your practice
- Modify by doing bridge pose or place a block between your thighs for added alignment + engagement
- Just like bow pose, always breathe here, notice if you lose the breath and choose to back out or take a modified version
Related: Wheel Pose Video Tutorial
Supported Fish Pose
- Use two blocks to prop your body up – one at the second height & one at the tallest height to start
- The middle block’s position will align with your would-be bra strap
- Do this posture to ground yourself at the beginning of your yoga practice or to seal your yoga practice
- Weave this posture into yin/restorative sequences
- Do this every damn day to combat your forward moving lifestyle
Related: Open Your Heart + Hips Video