The Old-Fashioned Shoulder Stretch (Upper Back & Shoulders)

09.05.2016 |

Episode #7 of the course Quick yoga poses at the desk by Elaine Oyang


Nothing beats the good ol’ shoulder stretch that we’ve all learned in gym class. This is a slight twist to the classic with more articulation to the shoulder blade movements.

7.1 Quick yoga poses at the desk

What you need:

– A comfortable sitting or standing position

What to do:

1) Sit in a comfortable, upright position. Roll the shoulders up, back, and down a few times.

2) On the exhale, roll the shoulders back and further down than usual. You should feel the bottom tips of your shoulder blades pulling down. You can grip the bottom edges of your chair to help draw the shoulder blades down. Stay here for 5 breaths, then relax the shoulders.

3) Draw your shoulders back and interlace your fingers behind you.

4) Exhale, then pull the shoulder blades in toward one another and down away from the ears.

5) Gently bring the hands and arms away from your back to stretch the chest and the front of your shoulders. Stay for 5 breaths, focusing on the chest and upper ribcage.

Why this works:

This particular stretch again targets the upper back muscles and the muscle group between the shoulder blades as well as the chest, all of which are often overworked due to our chronically forward-hunching arms and shoulders. This pose helps reverse the effects of the forward hunch, draw the shoulder blades back and down into their anatomical positions for relief, and open up the chest.


Recommended book:

“Yoga and the Quest for the True Self” by Stephen Cope


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