The thoracic spine, commonly referred to as the upper and middle back, is an area that can often feel tense from long periods of being still. Especially if you sit in a chair for long periods of time, you might catch yourself adjusting to sit up taller after feeling as if you’re rounding like a slowly coiling snake.
Yoga instructor Kellie Livingston posted seven helpful moves on TikTok that can aid in increasing thoracic spine mobility while alleviating tension in the upper and middle back that can combat the self coiling. In the TikTok above, Livingston demonstrates the following seven moves: supported backbend, book-opener twists, scapula shrugs, low lunge with shoulder swim, cobra with cactus arms, lateral flexion flow, and thoracic breathing.
Since the video above is a TikTok, there isn’t much time to show tips for how to do these moves. As a yoga instructor myself, I would like to offer tips (and modifications) for each of these moves so the moves can meet you where you are. Check out the video above for the exercises and the chart below for tips!
|Supported backbend||If you don’t own a yoga block, you can use a pilates ball or a rolled up bath towel.|
|Book-opener twists||Every time you “open the book,” try to press both shoulder blades down while keeping your lower half steady.|
|Scapula shrugs||Try to keep your core steady while you move your scapula. If your knees get sensitive, fold a blanket underneath them.|
|Low lunge with shoulder swim||You can try this move with the back knee up or down. It’s up to you!|
|Cobra with cactus arms||Think about keeping length in your low back. If you find it hard to keep your upper back lifted, then roll a towel and place it under your chest.|
|Lateral flexion flow||If sitting on the ground doesn’t feel good for you, then sit in a chair with your legs wide.|
|Thoracic breathing||You can also sit in a chair for this move, too.|
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