Feeling tightness in the upper back after long hours sitting at a computer or behind the wheel?
Try out this simple heart-opening stretch to open up the chest and relieve stiffness in the back.
1. Begin seated (or standing) tall with a long spine. Visualize your head stacking directly on top of your spine.
2. Reach your arms straight up above and imagine your spine growing even longer as you lengthen upwards. Take a big breath in right here.
3. a) With your exhale bring your arms to a cactus shape (or "goal post" shape) keeping your elbows at 90 degrees and spreading your fingers wide.
3. b) While continuing to lengthen upwards slowly draw your elbows back behind you opening up your chest. You can also lift your gaze and your chin slightly towards the sky if that feels good. Remember to keep your shoulders relaxed down away from your ears. Try to allow your shoulder blades to move down your back gently.
4. With your inhale, reach your finger tips back up to thew sky and with your exhale find your cactus arms again, drawing your elbows back and opening your chest. Try alternating between these two positions (see below) with your breath for 3-5 rounds. Long and slow breaths are key!
5. When you finish, take a moment of stillness to observe how you feel and to notice if anything has shifted, even slightly.
You can practice this stretch as often as it feels needed. Let us know if you have any questions!