Flexible tight shoulders and chests are something to focus on in order to excel at yoga. Rounded shoulders and tight chest muscles are attached to most people as we are constantly carrying heavy bags or stuck in our seats at the office.
There are two ways to address shoulder rounding. First, stretch the overworked and tight muscles. This includes the shoulders and chest. Second, strengthen the upper back to help you pull the shoulders back and hold them in place.
Let’s look into addressing the stretching element of correcting rounded shoulders:
1. Shoulder Opener:
Begin by lying flat on your stomach to get into this shoulder opener. Bring one arm straight out beside you in a T-shape with the palm placed on the floor. Begin to roll your bodyweight towards the extended arm so that your chest is lifted towards the other side of the room. The head can either rest on the floor or on a block if it’s more comfortable for your neck. Make sure there is a straight line from shoulder to wrist. Hold for about a minute or as long as you’d like to stay in it.
2. Chest Opener:
This is a variation of the shoulder opener that gets deeper into the chest muscles. Everything is the same as the shoulder opener but the elbow is bent at a 90-degree angle with palm pressing into the floor. Hold for about a minute or as long as you’d like to stay in it.
This pose stretches the front of the shoulders and also unlocks the upper back. To get into it lie face down on your stomach. Thread one arm underneath the other, trying to bring both arms out in a T-shape with palms down. Come high onto the tips of your toes, shift your weight forward and relax into the pose again to help you get your shoulders over your elbows. Rest your chin in the space between the elbows.
There are so many more yoga poses that do well for the chest and shoulders, but these are highly effective. Start with them and you’ll see a distinct flexibility in the said muscles.