Modern day life and tightness in the pecs can result in rounding of the shoulders forward and poor posture. This video focuses on releasing some of the tension in our pecs and opening up the chest and shoulders.
Equipment: a bolster or rolled up blanket
1) Restorative Chest Opener.
Start on your back with the end of your bolster or blanket at the bottom of your ribcage. Open the arms from the shoulders with the backs of your hands on the floor. Simply relax here and let gravity do the work for you. The goal of this stretch is to open up the chest, so let your arms be heavy. Lift your chest on your inhalations, and allow your upper back to be heavier on your exhalations. After a few minutes, roll to one side and use your hands to bring you out of the pose.
2) Arm circles
Sitting on your heels so that your fingers can’t touch the ground, begin making arm circles. Do about ten circles in each direction (forwards and backwards). These circles aren't for speed, they should be deliberate and full.
Next, bring your hands to your shoulders and begin making circles with your elbows. Make sure you’re bringing your shoulder blades together as you make the circles, and avoid shrugging your shoulders as your arms go up. You want your shoulders to be stable, even if it means for smaller circles.
3) Pec Stretch
With your stomach on the floor, bring your right arm out so that the shoulder and elbow are at the same height. Then bend your elbow so your forearm is parallel with your body. Using your left hand to stabilize, roll onto your right side. If needed, use your bolster or blanket to support your head. As you hold here, engage your stomach and bring your ribcage in – this will help keep your spine in line. If you want a bit more intensity, push your left hand into the floor. We will spend about two minutes on each side. To release from this stretch, slowly roll back to your stomach.
4) Shoulder Stretch
Come into a squat stance, making sure that your knees are in line with your toes. Place your hands behind your back and then the elbows in front of the knees. You may also feel a stretch in your hips and hamstrings here as well! Try to be as upright as possible and elongate the spine. Breathe deep into the bottom of your ribcage to help push your arms against your knees.
Work hard, find softness. MacKenzie Miller will leave you feeling as if you have flirted with gravity and laughed with the divine. Students are instantaneously transported away from the hustle of their daily lives, allowing their mat to be an arena reserved for cultivating inner peace.
MacKenzie is a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor. Her teaching combines thorough understanding of alignment and anatomy with the joy of balance and movement. She engages deeply with her students and her classes are thoughtfully sequenced, creating a safe space to have fun and explore, work hard yet find softness.
No aspect of the modern practice experience is left untouched. All will leave energized, grinning and humming at the end.