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5-Minute Yoga for Every Body: Yoga for the Upper Back

Deborah is a writer, healer, and teacher. She enjoys helping people work towards healthier lives.

You can do it!

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Begin with Breath

Yoga is more than just stretching and balancing. It is a way of life. Yoga embraces the whole person, to lead you on a path of well being; physically, mentally, and spiritually.

You do not need to embrace a specific religion to enjoy the benefits of yoga. The spirit of yoga welcomes all. What you do need is a desire to grow and a desire to love yourself beyond where you are today. Yoga is appropriate for all age and skill levels, and it's benefits are far reaching.

This series of articles is written for people who have not yet explored yoga, but would like to. It is also designed to help people who don't have time for a traditional yoga class.

This series covers some basic poses for beginners, and also the philosophy behind yoga. If you want to be more flexible, read on. If you want more balance, then continue. It only takes five minutes a day.

The most important part of a yoga practice is breathing. Becoming aware of the breath is the basis for all poses. Before you begin this or any yoga practice, take a few moments to quiet your mind and focus on your breath.

Breathe deeply and check in with your body. Listen to your breath. Notice how you feel, physically and emotionally. Allow yourself to notice and observe your body, your breath and your emotions.

Before you begin your practice, continue breathing deeply for a few more moments. Allow your mind to connect to your body. Now, you are in a place to begin.

Breathe In. Breathe Out.

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Yoga Philosophy

When practicing yoga, learning poses typically comes before practicing philosophy. It is important to find out that you can do a pose. The struggle with self to overcome fear, hesitation and embarrassment will lead you on a path of growth and increased body awareness.

We all start at the beginning. Not knowing any yoga poses. Not understanding the seemingly complex thought system embraced by the enlightened gurus. At the beginning, we learn. We begin our yoga practice exactly where we are today. We don't worry about where we were yesterday, or where we want to be tomorrow. Today, we begin where we are. We breathe deeply and begin.

Start with a beginners mind. We begin as an empty vessel, waiting to be filled. We begin with nothing to bring, but ourselves and our desire to practice. Nothing else matters.

As we learn simple poses, our mind slowly overcomes the ego which tears us down at every opportunity. Our true self learns that we are strong, capable, and smart. As we work through each pose, our true self is lifted. There is no perfect pose in yoga. The perfection is found in the practice. The practice of breathing, connecting the mind, body and soul, and the practice of moving through the poses leads us to find perfection in each moment. We forget about being "perfect" and we meet ourselves exactly where we are.

The boost in confidence that follows creates a desire to improve our lives in other areas, and this juncture is where yoga philosophy comes in. The philosophy embraces breath, connection and life. It leads us to a higher place of acceptance and confidence, as we learn that where we are is exactly where we need to be.

Beginners Mind

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5 Minutes for your Upper Back

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Yoga for the Upper Back

  • Stand or sit comfortably. Gently lower the right ear toward the right shoulder. Slowly bring the head forward and around, feeling the stretch across the back of the neck. When the left ear reaches the left shoulder, gently come back to center. Repeat three times, or as needed to loosen and stretch the neck and trapezius.
  • Switching sides, lower the left ear to the left shoulder, and slowly roll the head forward, feeling the stretch down the side and back of the neck. When the right ear reaches the right shoulder, come slowly back to center. Moving slowly and gently, repeat three times.
  • Inhaling deeply, bring the hands to the heart, then extend the arms overhead, reaching toward the sky, lengthening through the spine. Exhaling, gently bring the arms behind the back, as if you are holding a beachball. If you are able, you may clasp the hands and gently push them away from the body. Breathe deeply and feel the stretch across the front of the shoulders, in the deltoids. Lift the chest toward the sky while bringing the hands toward each other, breathe deeply and hold for several breaths. Release the hands.
  • Bring hands to the sides. Raise the left arm in front of the body, and gently reach the arm across the body. Use the right arm as a lever to gently pull the left arm, and feel the stretch across the rear of the left shoulder, and into the upper back, through the rhomboids. If you'd like more stretch, raise both elbows slightly. Hold the stretch for several breaths, then gently release both arms to the sides.
  • Raise the right arm in front of the body. Using the left arm as a lever, gently pull the right arm across the body, feeling the stretch in the deltoids and the rhomboids. Raise the elbows to deepen the stretch. Notice how the stretch feels through the shoulders and back, and adjust your pose to get the best stretch for your body today. Hold the stretch for several breaths, then gently release both arms to the sides.
  • Inhaling deeply, reach both arms overhead, stretching upward, creating length in the spine. As you exhale, lower the right arm to the right side. On the next inhale, reach the left hand a little higher, as you press the left foot firmly into the floor. Exhaling, slide the right hand down the right leg, stretching through the left side of the body. Inhaling, lengthen through the left side, stretching the latissimus dorsi and the obliques. Exhaling, slide the right hand further down the right leg. Hold this stretch for several breaths. On the final inhale, come back to standing, bringing the right hand up the meet the left hand.
  • Reaching overhead, inhale deeply. As you exhale, lower the left hand to the left side. On the next inhale, extend the right arm a little higher, as you press the right foot more firmly into the floor. As you exhale, slide the left hand down the left leg. Inhaling, reach through the right fingertips, lengthening through the right side of the body. Hold for several breaths and notice the stretch down the right side of the body. On the final inhale, come back to standing, raising the right arm to meet the left.
  • Coming back to standing, bring hands to the sides for mountain pose, feeling strong, stable and grounded. Feet press into the floor. Arms are by the sides, shoulders down and back, away from the ears. Head is lifted. Breathe deeply.

About Me

I am a certified yoga instructor, massage therapist, and life coach. I want to help everyone achieve their best life, today. Using the tools I've learned in yoga, massage and life coaching, I want to help you improve your life from the inside out.

Yoga is an important component of a complete life, as it combines the essence of breath, movement and feeling. Practicing yoga daily will help with your peace of mind, as well as balance and flexibility.

As I get older, I realize that some things that I used to do are no longer comfortable, so I have adjusted my yoga practice to be realistic for every body type, regardless of age, size, fitness level or experience.

Join me on the journey, as we explore yoga and the benefits of breathing and feeling.

How do you Breathe?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Deborah Demander

What do you think?

Deborah Demander (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on December 27, 2016:

FlourishAnyway, Thanks for checking out this article. I hope that you try yoga, and that you enjoy it. The most important thing to remember about yoga is to breathe. And pay attention to how you feel. There is no perfect pose, just be where you are right now.

Namaste

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 22, 2016:

The descriptions you provided were helpful. I've tried a yoga class but yours sounds more enjoyable than the sessions I took. Glad you adapt for people of all types, ages, ability levels, etc.

Deborah Demander (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on October 31, 2016:

@bettipsfinder, thank you for reading and commenting.

Namaste

besttipsfinder on October 31, 2016:

nice

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