I’ve been noticing in my classes lately that students have requested and enjoyed sequences that soothe the upper back. Can you recall having upper back discomfort?
It’s not fun huh. Unfortunately, it happens to a lot of us. The upper back can feel tight due to many reasons. It can be a result of stress, sleeping funny, carrying a heavy bag on one shoulder, the list goes on. More likely than not though I think our upper backs can feel uncomfortable because we under or overuse the muscles of the neck, shoulders, and upper back.
In the sequence below, I’ve included some yoga poses you can do at work that will both strengthen and stretch your neck, shoulders, and upper back. I recommend repeating the ones that help you feel balanced. For example, if one posture makes your upper body feel worse, then listen to that and skip that one and repeat the poses that seem to soothe tension or strengthen you where you may feel weak.
Hold each pose for 6-8 slow, even breaths.
Hope you enjoy,
Back of the Neck Stretch:
Sitting or standing tall. Clasp your hands behind your head and fold your elbows forward toward your nose. Next, round your upper back forward slightly and use the weight of your arms to fold the neck and head forward to create an upper back and neck stretch.
This one requires setting up in the pose and engaging in muscular actions.
Sitting or standing tall. Set your arms up as if you’re holding an imaginary platter – With your arms snug beside your body, bend your elbows at a ninety degree angle and turn your palms up toward the ceiling. To engage your back muscles, imagine the platter that you’re holding just got very heavy. To help bear the weight, slide your upper arms back – that will recruit your back muscles. Lastly, slide your forearms to the sides of the rooms so that your platter arms widen.
Sitting or standing tall. Bend your elbows and fold one arm underneath the other. If your arms don’t fold all the way together, then wrap your arms across your chest and grab around as much as your can. Squeeze your arms together and imagine that I punched you in the chest. This will round your upper back back (or chest will go back toward the back). Next, round your back and head a 1/3 of the way forward. Try the other side with the other arm under.