So many of us spend too much time hunched over our computers, our phones or our steering wheels. Even if you don't work on a computer all day and you're good about leaving your phone in the other room, you likely still hunch forward a lot during your day; over a workbench, a kitchen counter, a journal, or your garden.
It is important to counteract this by doing some chest expansion yoga poses. As with so many poses, you don't have to get on a mat and do an entire 45-minute practice to receive the benefits. You can do these poses while sitting in your living room, or standing in the bathroom.
Simple Chest Expansion
This is a simple series of poses you can do while standing, sitting on the edge of your couch, or even sitting in your office chair. Do this several times during the day to relieve stress in the shoulder and improve your posture.
How to Do This Simple Chest Expansion
- while standing or sitting on the edge of your chair, raise your arm straight up over your head as you inhale. Relax your shoulders down away from your ears.
- as you exhale, drop to cactus arms, lowering your elbows down to right angles, with your upper arms parallel to the floor.
- squeeze your shoulder blades together, opening your chest. Attempt to press your arms back, trying to make them disappear from your peripheral vision. Stay here for a breath or two.
- with your next exhale, continue to lower your elbow, as if you are trying to bring them behind your lower back. Stay here for a breath or two.
- if you can, bring your hands behind your back, clasp them together, and straighten your arms to open the chest and front of your shoulders. Allow your head to fall back slightly to gaze upward as you press your hips and lower belly forward (gentle backbend). Stay here for a breath or two.
- when you are done, slowly release your body back upright, release your shoulders, bring your gaze down, and slowly unclasp your hands.
- take a big cleansing breath.
Chest Expansion Forward Fold
Similar to the Simple Chest Expansion, you can do this pose almost anywhere.
How to Do a Chest Expansion Forward Fold
- standing in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), bring your arms up overhead as you did with the Simple Chest Expansion. Drop your elbows to cactus arms, then lower your elbows further down. Bring your hands behind your back and clasp your hands together as you straighten your arms to open your chest and shoulders. Drop your shoulders down away from your ears.
- fold at your pelvis, put a gentle bend in your knees, and bring your tummy toward your thighs (Forward Fold).
- keep your hands clasped behind you and lift the arms up as if you want them to come up over your head. Instead, they will point up and maybe slightly forward, intensifying the chest and shoulder expansion.
Modification of Chest Expansion Forward Fold
If you want to also stretch out your hamstrings, you can change the positioning of your legs to Pyramid Pose, by stepping one foot forward a couple of feet before folding forward.
Let Me Guide You Through The Poses
Benefits of Chest Expansion / Chest Opening Poses
As I said above, chest-expanding poses can counteract all of the hunching-forward movements we make throughout the day. These poses...
decreased neck and shoulder discomfort due to poor posture.
increase lung capacity.
reduce stress and anxiety.
increase overall flexibility.
Just Do It
Everyone can benefit from doing this pose a few times a day, especially if you find yourself hunching forward during your daily activities.
What are you waiting for? Yoga poses aren't just for the mat. You can do so many of them anytime and anywhere, to add a little movement and increase flexibility. Try it right now.