I think most of us who work at desks have a tendency to hunch up and hunker down over our keyboards, and obviously all the stretching in the world can't replace good posture and a healthy work space! If you are working long hours in the office, make sure to take regular breaks and walk around, swing your arms, roll your shoulders, and stretch a bit!
Here are a few really simple stretches that can help. They work really well as a little flow, but can be done individually as well - and best of all, they can be done in your chair while at work.
*If clasping your hands together isn't comfortable in some of these poses, try using a small length of fabric - a strap, belt or even a teatowel - and you will get a great stretch!
1. Start by sitting up straight with both feet evenly planted on the floor (or both sitting bones if you are sitting on the floor). Bring your hands beside you, or even better, underneath you and take 5 deep breaths while you focus on dropping the shoulders down as far away as you can from your ears. Then:
2. Inhale, and reach your arms up overhead. Clasp the fingers together and turn the palms upwards*. Now bring your focus back to the shoulders and again, try to drop them away from your ears while still lengthening upwards through the crown of your head. Hold for 5 breaths or about 30 seconds.
3. Release your hands and bring them down behind you. Once again interlace the fingers behind your back*, and gently lift your hands away from your lower back until you feel a nice stretch. Hold for 5 breaths or about 30 seconds.
4. Release your arms and stretch them out in front of you, palms up. Then, cross one arm over the other, above the elbow. Bend the bottom arm (bringing your hand towards the ceiling) and gently pull the outstretched arm to that side. Hold for 5 breaths and repeat on the other side. If you have more flexibility in your shoulders, you can also try Eagle arms, also pictured.
5. Bring one hand to your shoulder, palm up. Stretch the other arm all the way up to the ceiling and then bend it at the elbow, clasping your hands together*. Now from the hand on the shoulder, gently pull until you feel a good stretch, then hold. Try holding about 30 seconds on each side.
Hope these help! Readers, what little stretches feel great for your shoulders?