Upper Back Rolls & Angel Wings (Upper Back & Shoulders)
Episode #6 of the course Quick yoga poses at the desk by Elaine Oyang
Sitting for long periods of time can not only cause stagnation in the body, but by rounding the shoulders forward, we collapse the ribcage and the lungs and cause stagnation in our breath. When we don’t take in enough oxygen, our brain gets foggy. Before reaching for that second (or third, or fourth?) cup of coffee, however, try the following exercise designed to awaken the lungs and stretch the muscles in the chest and upper back.
What you need:
– A comfortable sitting or standing position
What to do:
1) Sit in a comfortable, upright position. Bend your elbows by your rib cage and hold your hands in soft fists.
2) Inhale, pull the elbows back, and lift the chest upwards. Exhale, draw the elbows forward, round the back, and tuck the ribcage and chin inwards.
3) Repeat these two motions 7 more times. Make your breaths long and smooth.
4) Alternatively, you can also extend the arms fully out by your side. Inhale, spread your arms back, and lift the chest. Exhale, bring the arms forward to touch the hands, and round in. Repeat 7 more times.
Why this works:
The movements coordinate with the breaths. As we draw the elbows back and open the arms, the space created in the belly and chest is an opportunity for us to take full breaths. As we draw the elbows and/or arms forward and round the back, it is an opportunity for us to completely breathe out to remove any stagnant air in the lungs. In addition, the movements stimulate the flow of cerebral spinal fluid, which provides immunological protection and waste clearing for the central nervous system. This exercise is also beneficial for those with tight chest muscles.
“The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards” by William J Broad
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