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Experiencing upper back tension with no relief in site? Try this yoga for upper back tension sequence! With lots of chest opening and side body stretching, you’ll finish feeling refreshed and open. All you’ll need is a yoga mat; no other props required!
Upper back tension is one of the most common reasons people come to yoga, especially mamas! Stiff shoulders and neck make sleep tough and getting through the day unnecessarily difficult. Every pregnant mama knows sleep is already hit and miss, with aches and pains, baby kicks and pesky midnight trips to the bathroom. Postpartum mamas are no exception to the struggle of upper back tension. Breastfeeding, pumping, and baby-wearing all put strain on the upper back.
Move through this flow whenever the mood strikes. This yoga sequence is safe and appropriate for both pregnant and newly postpartum parents, as well as beginners.
Yoga for Upper Back Tension
Begin in a seated position on the mat with legs crossed and hands on knees.
Seated Cat Cow. Inhale, arching your back and gaze towards the ceiling. Exhale and round the spine in the opposite direction. Move through 3-5 times or until the spine feels warm.
Gentle Trunk Rolls. In a seated position with hands on knees, rotate your chest in a clockwise motion. Move through this 3 times and then repeat counter clockwise.
Seated Arch. Gently walk your hands behind your hips and lift your chest up towards the ceiling. Take 3-5 deep breaths here.
Seated Side Body Stretch. Sit up and bring your arms overhead. Using your right hand, grab onto your left wrist, and gently pull the left arm to the right side. Maintain an open chest here while your left side stretches a little deeper with each exhale. 3-5 breaths Repeat on other side.
Cat Cow. Slowly come onto all fours with shoulders stacked directly over wrists and hips over knees. Inhale and look up towards the ceiling while bringing your belly button towards the floor. Exhale to round the spine and arch your back bringing your chest and hips towards the floor. Move through 5 times.
Thread the needle. Inhale and reach your right arm towards the ceiling, opening your chest. Exhale to loop your right arm through the space between your left arm and left leg. Lay your right arm completely flat on the ground for an exterior shoulder stretch. 5 breaths here.
Deeper Shoulder Stretch. Extend your left arm forward so that it is reaching toward the front of the room. Slowly come out the stretch.
Repeat Thread the Needle. Move through steps 9 and 10 on the opposite side.
Puppy Pose. Once back in the neutral table top position, with hips stacked over knees, slowly walk hands forward towards the top of the mat and gently sink chest down towards the floor. Keep your forehead towards the mat, or look forward and place your chin on the mat for a slightly deeper stretch. 5 deep breaths here.
Child’s Pose. On your next exhale slowly start to walk yourself back to table top. Sink the hips back coming into child’s pose with arms extended forward.
Side Body Stretch. In child’s pose, walk your arms over to the right side of the mat to get a side body stretch. 5 breaths here and then repeat on the left side.
Downward Dog. Come through tabletop, tuck your toes and lift your hips to the sky, coming into downward facing dog. Keep your knees bent and chest sinking down towards the floor. Hang here for 5 deep breaths.
Standing Position. Walk your feet up to the top of the mat and come to a standing position.
Upper Back Arch. Inhale to bring your arms up overhead. Keep your chest open to stretch back, focusing on bending through the middle of your spine. 2-3 deep breaths here.
Rag Doll. Exhale to swan dive down bringing your hands to the floor and keeping the knees gently bent. Hang here for 2-3 breaths and then repeat the sequence 3-5 times starting from downward dog.
Child’s Pose. From the last down dog, bring knees down to the mat and move into child’s pose bringing arms by your side and forehead to the mat. Hang here as long as you’d like to close out the practice.