A Simple Stretch Your Upper Back Will Love
In many yoga classes I’ve taken, I’ve often wondered what the heck I’m doing during “thread the needle” pose — I just didn’t get it.
Then I tried it one time at home (thank you, Adriene) when my upper back and neck were bothering me, and bam: Suddenly all the kinks seemed to work themselves out, and I just felt better.
Once I thought about it, it made sense. The spine gets a delicious but gentle twist, the shoulders get a friendly stretch, and the very slight inversion (head below chest) brings a bit of extra blood flow to the whole area. My trainer, Crystal Fasano, incorporates it into our workouts sometimes, and it’s become my go-to when my upper back is bugging me.
Here’s how to do it:
- Begin on all fours. Lift your right hand to the ceiling, feeling the gentle twist in your spine as you make a straight line with your outstretched arms.
- Then reach your right arm underneath your left armpit, bending your left arm at the elbow and lowering your right ear to the floor. Allow your right shoulder and arm to gently rest on the mat for a breath or more. You can keep your hips aligned with your knees, bring them back toward your feet, or let them find a comfortable spot somewhere in between.
- Return to all fours and repeat with the other arm. You can flow through a few reps on each side, or just one long, delicious restorative rep with each arm.
I’m an ACE-certified personal trainer, functional movement specialist, and pre- and postnatal exercise specialist, and I’m suggesting a simple move each Monday to start your week on the right foot. Have a great one, and see you next week.