Don’t let your devices take a toll on your body!

Lindsley Allen is known for her fierce moves and her loving spirit. But did you know she is also a yoga instructor?  Here are Lindsley’s best stretches for increasing flexibility in the shoulders and creating better posture.

These yoga poses help open the shoulders, chest and upper thoracic spine.

Our shoulders become tight from sitting, texting, reading, working on the computer, driving and slouching. These yoga exercises will help keep your spine strong yet flexible and give you that beautiful lift in the upper back.

In general, take long deep inhales and exhales thru your nose. This is called Ujjayi Breath. To release tension open your jaw and SIGH it out. This will relax your body and mind and each exhales sends signals to the body that it’s ok to open up. Notice if you grip or grasp the body tightens as well. Ease into each step of the pose without forcing and allow the body to open up naturally and create more space in these tight areas.

Simple Shoulder Opener

You can do this one while watching TV. Sit with your hipbones on your heels (you also get a stretch behind the toes). Clasp your palms together. You can slightly bend your elbows instead of hyper extending your arms. Draw your shoulders back and down squeeze your shoulder blades together and lift your chest. Aim your clasped palms towards the floor. Pulse 10 times. Do this 3 times a day.

Deep Shoulder Opener

Go slowly with this one. Step by step. Pay attention to the signals in the body and stop if there are any “red flags” pains. Should only be a slight discomfort and opening feeling. Do not push. 
Step 1:
Lie on your stomach on the ground and bring your arms to a T, palms face down.
Step 2: 
Bend your left knee and roll onto your right side, placing your left foot behind your right leg for balance. Press your left palm into the ground to act as a kickstand in front of you.

Step 3:
Allow your neck to completely release and the side of your head to relax to the ground. If it doesn’t quite reach, you can use a low pillow or blanket. To start, relax your legs and keep the hips propped one on top of the other. Control the stretch in the right shoulder by using the left palm to roll yourself more completely onto the right shoulder. To go deeper, continue to roll on top of the shoulder, perhaps reaching the left arm behind you toward the right arm.

Step 4: 
Slowly and mindfully pay attention to the signals into the body, you might come to the full pose and bring both feet on the floor and knees faces up, hands clasped behind your back or close to it: Be wherever you can stay for six deep, controlled breaths. Then roll onto your stomach to release. Bring the arms again to a T. This time, bend the right knee and roll onto your left side. Hold this side for the same amount of breaths. When finished, roll onto your stomach and then press yourself into Child’s Pose, notice any sensations in the shoulders.

BOW POSE: Shoulder/Chest/Upper Thoracic Spine Opener

Step 1:
Lie on your stomach with your hands alongside your torso, palms up. Exhale and bend your knees, bringing your heels as close as you can to your buttocks. Reach back with your hands and take hold of your ankles or top of your feet. Make sure your knees aren’t wider than the width of your hips, and keep your knees hip width for the duration of the pose.

Step 2:
Inhale and strongly lift your heels away from your buttocks and, at the same time, lift your thighs away from the floor. This will have the effect of pulling your upper torso and head off the floor. Burrow the tailbone down toward the floor, and keep your back muscles soft. As you continue lifting the heels and thighs higher, press your shoulder blades firmly against your back to open your heart. Draw the tops of the shoulders away from your ears. Gaze forward. Stay in this pose anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds. Release as you exhale, and lie quietly for a few breaths. You can repeat the pose once or twice

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