Gentle Class For Upper Back And Shoulders – Weekly Intermediate Class 93

Focus: This class focuses on poses that give a gentle opening to the thoracic spine and shoulders. With people spending longer periods of time sitting at desks and working on computers, stiffness in these areas is becoming increasingly common in today’s world. It can potentially lead towards painful conditions associated with the neck and spine, and can negatively impact body posture habits and overall energy levels.

The poses featured in this sequence will help to improve mobility and elasticity in the thoracic spine, encourage an increased range of motion for the shoulders and their related muscles, increase awareness of healthy posture habits, and help to release tension from the trapezius muscle and general shoulder region. The class begins with some matsyasana style variations where blocks support the upper back in a reclining simple cross leg  position. The baddhanguliyasana arm position is then added to poses that start to simultaneously work the upper back and shoulders. Eventually a shoulder opening effect is gained from ustrasana and chatushpadasana. The video guides you in ways of ensuring that you are gently working into these areas without forcing. Alternatives and modifications are suggested for people working with more pronounced stiffness in the upper back and shoulders.

Key Poses: Matsyasana (from sukhasana), baddhanguliyasana, ustrasana, chatushpadasana

Equipment: Mat, chair, 3 blankets, 2 blocks, belt

Level: Intermediate

Duration: 40 min

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    • Di

      Hi Jessica, it is great to hear that you enjoyed the class.

  1. Fiona R

    Thanks for this class. You are right, working from a desk develops stiffness in shoulders and upper back, and this class did a good job of releasing. If I feel twinging in my elbows in ustrsana, should I bend elbows or bring back to a lower point on chair?

    • Rod

      Hi Fiona, I’m glad you found the class useful. Twinging in your elbows might be an indication that you have come too high on the chair. A micro bend in your elbows should alleviate this straight away. Sounds like you are on the right track in terms of balancing the two. The reality check will be your shoulders feeling the emphasis of the pose more than your elbows. Of course this is harder if your elbows tend to hyper extend. Regards, Rod

  2. Anita S

    Thanks for this class Rod. I particularly enjoyed the savasana over the two blocks.

    • Rod

      Thanks for your feedback Anita. Yes the two blocks can be really helpful.

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