Level 1 Group Class: Opening the Chest and Shoulders

The general idea here is to create width and openness across the collarbones and top chest while also keeping the upper and middle back broad. The sequence is perhaps a little more than basic as it has an inversion prep in it.

The Sequence

Side Stretch at the wall
• Stand with the feet together about eight to twelve inches away from the wall and lean the right hip, waist and ribs against it. Reach the right arm up. Pause here for a few breaths.
• Come up onto the balls of the feet. Stay here for a few breaths.
• Slowly drop the right heel, resisting up through the ribs and arms to lengthen out the right side of the waist. When the right heel is down, drop the left.
• Bend the right elbow and clasp it with the left hand. Draw the upper arm bone up towards the ceiling. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Take the tip of the elbow up and over the top of the head while keeping the outer armpit moving into the wall. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Turn the chest a slightly into the middle of the room to send the stretch towards the back. Hold here for a few breaths.
• Release and repeat on the second side.

Garudasana (Eagle Pose) arms with the back against the wall

Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose) with the back against the wall

All Fours
• Take a moment to seal your hands into the mat while widening the upper back and the top of the chest.

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Uttanasana (Intense Stretch Pose) with the feet apart

Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog Pose)

Child’s Pose

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)

Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
• Put the hand of the raised arm on the hip.
• Press the collarbone away from the ear and roll it up towards the ceiling.

Utthita Parshvakonasana (Extended Side Angle Pose)

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) simple variation
• Turn the head away from the direction of the twist.

Bharadwajasana 1 (Bharadwaja’s Pose 1) full pose with bound arm
• Turn the head away from the direction of the twist.


Head Stand Preparation
• Do twice, once with each interlock of the fingers.

Right Angle Forearm Stand at the wall
• Sit with the buttocks against the wall and mark off where the heels are. Set yourself up in the Head Stand Prep with the elbows where the heels were.
• Walk the feet up the wall to hip height.
• Hold for several seconds and repeat with the second interlock of the fingers.

Purvottanasana (Intense East Stretch Pose) table top variation
• Have the hands on blocks.

Setu Bandha (Bridge Pose) with the feet on the chair

Ardha Halasana (Half Plough Pose) with the toes on the chair
Eka Pada Sarvangasana (Single Leg Shoulder Stand)
Salamba Sarvangasana 1 (Shoulder Stand 1)

Shavasana (Corpse Pose) with a lift under the trunk and head
• 5 minutes.

Shavasana (Corpse Pose)


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