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Yoga instructor Emily Millen shares three poses to open your chest, back, and shoulders after a ride.
It is difficult to maintain safe alignment and proper posture when you are immersed in a ride around the city. Your shoulders can sneak up to your ears and clench muscles in anticipation and/ or excitement. Here are a few yoga moves to help you feel open and expansive after your ride.
Ardha Purvottanasana (Reverse Table Top)
Sit on the ground or a mat with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bend your knees, placing your feet flat on the ground. Then place your hands behind you shoulder distance apart with your fingertips pointing toward your hips and feet and your elbows bent. Draw your shoulder blades toward each other to begin to open the chest. Pressing your hands and feet down, straighten your elbows, and lift your hips up to be level with your knees, making a table shape. Draw your tailbone toward the knees to keep your lower back spacious and supported. Look toward your navel, especially if you have a neck injury. Look to the sky or relax your head back into the trapezius muscles only if it feels comfortable for your neck.
+Benefits Opens the chest and shoulders, wakes up the legs and core muscles, strengthens the wrists, arms, and back.
Garudasana Arms (Eagle Arms in Tadasana)
Stand tall with your feet hip width apart. Stretch your arms straight in front of you and bend your elbows so your fingers point upwards and your wrists are over your elbows. Place your right elbow over your left elbow and try to press your palms together into prayer. Your thumbs should be pointing towards your face. If your palms do not touch, then press the backs of your hands together. Lift the palms gently toward the sky to increase the stretch. Keep your shoulders relaxed down your back and keep your navel gently drawing toward your spine to protect your lower back. Breathe ten breaths into the stretch between the shoulder blades and then switch sides.
+Benefits Stretches the shoulders, upper back, and wrists.
Shoulder Stretch with a Strap in Tadasana
Stand tall with your feet hip width apart. Hold a strap or towel in front of you with your hands separated slightly wider than shoulder width distance. As you inhale, slowly begin to raise the strap forward and up until it is above your head. Isometrically, pull your hands apart to increase the stretch in the inner arms and shoulder. Exhale and bring your hands together and down again. As you do this, keep your chin slightly tucked and your front ribs and navel drawing in to keep the spine in neutral position. Repeat this a few times. See if you can move your arms slightly further apart with each round.
+Benefits Opens the shoulders and chest, increases the range of motion in your shoulders, releases tension in the wrists, arms, and neck.
Meet the Teacher
Emily has been teaching yoga in Vancouver since 2009. She draws from her many experiences, taking the best from each to weave art skillfully into her teaching with a rich and heartfelt voice. She is a proud Tonic Lifestyle Apparel ambassador and leads local and international retreats throughout the year under Unity Retreats.