#1: Snow Angels
Benefit: This brings circulation and blood flow to the upper back, shoulders, and neck, and enables the body to restore itself by aligning the shoulder girdle and upper spine. It also reminds the neck of its healthiest relationship with gravity.
- Lay on the roller the long way so that your entire spine is supported from head to tailbone. Begin with your arms out to the side with palms up and chest expanded.
- Inhale deeply as you reach your arms up overhead slowly and with control, keeping them as close to the mat as possible and parallel to the floor.
- Exhale completely as you draw your arms back down by your hips and gently exhale the C02 out of your lungs.
Repeat 8 times.
#2: Shoulder Blade Mobilization Crossover
Benefit: This boosts circulation and blood flow to the deeper muscles of the upper back and shoulders while helping to open the chest and front of shoulders. It helps align the neck and head and reduces the feeling of heaviness in the shoulders.
- Lay on the roller the long way, so that your entire spine is supported from head to tailbone. Begin with your arms bent and elbows crossing one over the other.
- Inhale as you open your arms out to the side slowly and with control, keeping the elbow bent. Bring the forearm as close to the mat as possible, parallel to the floor.
- Exhale completely as you draw your arms back up, crossing the other elbow on top.
Switch and repeat 8 times on each side.
#3: Diaphragm Release
Benefit: This helps restore a more balanced thoracic/upper spine and neck alignment. It also reduces the hunch back and tones the neck muscles, which prevents “turkey neck” or sagging jowls. It also helps the lungs take in more oxygen and release more CO2/toxic air while helping the body release stress more effectively. It elongates and tones the neck muscles in a gentle restorative way.
- Place the roller behind you, underneath the bottom of your shoulder blades (at the bra line, for the ladies). Gently interlace your fingers and bring your hands behind your head to support your neck. Place your feet on the ground, parallel and hip-width distance apart.
- Inhale as you arch your thoracic (or mid- to upper-) back over the roller. Keep you hands behind your head while stretching the front of your neck to release any tension.
- Exhale as you curl back up in the letter C, squeezing all the air out of your stomach, ringing out your organs, flattening your belly, and flushing your lungs to make room for new oxygen.
Repeat 8-10 times.
Smoothe Out & Create Space
#1: Roll Away the Day
Benefit: This hydrates the dense and stiff tissue in the upper back and shoulder blades, and melts the thick and dense knots in the upper back. It also helps bring your upper back and spine into a taller and longer alignment.
- Lay down on the mat with the roller placed under your back at the bra line, leaning your mid-back over the roller. Gently interlace your fingers behind your head to support your head and neck.
- Press into your feet to lift your hips up and then use your feet to drive the movement, inhaling as you roll up to massage the upper back and shoulder blades, stopping at the base of your neck.
- Exhale as you roll and massage down the spine, stopping at the bottom of your ribcage. Be careful not to roll back and forth on the lower back because it can create too much pressure and force on your discs and vertebra.
Repeat 8-10 times on each side.
#2: Neck Massage
Benefit: This helps melt the density in the attachments between the neck and the skull, while boosting circulation and creating more flexibility in the neck muscles. This also helps the head come back to a proper alignment.
- Lie down on your back and place the roller at the base of your skull, taking your hands to either end of the roller to stretch your arms and keep the roller steady.
- Inhale and turn your head to the left, feeling the roller gently massage your neck.
- Exhale to fully rotate your neck to the right.
Repeat 8 times on each side.
#3: Collarbone Alignment
Benefit: This opens the deep attachments of the chest and fronts of the shoulders and collarbones to reveal a more elegant chest and neck. It also reduces head forward posture and tension in the upper back and neck. In addition, it increases creative energy in the head, rings out your organs, and nourishes your vertebral discs.
- Place the roller behind you, right at your bra-line, with your knees bent and together, feet together, planted on the floor. Reach your arms behind you and wrap your biceps around the roller rotating your forearms and palms up as you look straight ahead.
- Inhale as you twist your hip to the left and your head to the right, stretching you neck and entire spine. Exhale for a few seconds to feel the opening and expansion.
- Inhale to reverse the position and fully exhale to hold and release.
Repeat 8 times on each side.
#1: Arm Extension Reverse Dip
Benefit: This improves the rotations of the arms and compressions in the chest from working on the computer, texting, or sitting too much. It opens the chest, elongates and tones the neck, and puts the back of the arms in proper alignment. It also reduces hunch back posture, opens up the lungs, and reduces anxiety by opening up the heart.
- Sit on the mat and place the roller behind you. Bring your hands to the roller, palms down, shoulder-width apart, with your thumbs facing up. Open your chest and collarbones, lengthen your neck, and draw your shoulders back.
- Bend your knees up toward the ceiling so that your heels are stacked directly under your knees, plant your feet firmly on the floor, and lift your hips up in the air to draw yourself into a reverse tabletop position.
- Press into the roller to straighten your arms and open your chest, keeping a slight bend in your elbows to keep tension out of your triceps and elbow joints.
- Keeping the roller stable and your core engaged, inhale as you slowly bend your elbows behind you and exhale as you press up to a soft elbow, taking care to avoid locking the elbow joints.
Repeat 10 times.
#2: Rolling Swan
Benefit: This builds tone and strength in the upper back, shoulders, and arms, reducing and preventing “hunchback.” It creates a longer, leaner, and stronger upper body and neck, and supports the structure of balanced muscle to keep your posture more upright with less effort. It also helps you breathe more efficiently.
- Lay belly-down on the mat, with arms stretched in front of you and the roller placed underneath your elbow joints, thumbs facing up. Reach your heels away from your heart to feel oppositional energy and decompress your spine.
- Inhale and roll the roller toward you, extending the spine and lifting as you roll your shoulders back (taking care to keep your glutes relaxed the entire time so you don’t jam your low back while lifting up). Be sure to pull your abs up and in to support your back and elongate the front of your body. Turn you head to the left and then to the right for an extra neck stretch.
- Exhale as you slowly resist on the way down, returning to the position you started in.
Repeat 8 times.
#3: Rolling Mermaid Twist
Benefit: This stretches, lengthens, opens, and tones the sides of the body, especially the neck and upper spine. It releases tension in the hips, and rings out the organs, flushing toxins and reducing stress. It opens up the spine and nourishes the vertebral discs.
- Sit with the roller close to your left side and bend your left shin in front of you, your right shin to the right side of you.
- Twist your upper body to the left and place both sets of fingertips on the roller. With your chest open, sit up as tall as you can, open your chest, look up, and roll you shoulders down and back, then inhale as you roller the roller away from you. This will roll out your forearms and twist your body even more to the left, wringing out your organs and opening and lengthening your neck.
Repeat 5 times, then do on the opposite side.