Whenever you feel tightness in your chest, shoulders and back, practice this variation of a backbend, or bridge pose. It will help release tension in your mid- and upper back as well as stretch and strengthen your hips and legs.
Lie back on a mat with your heels resting on a sturdy chair. Extend your arms alongside your body, palms flat on the floor. Make sure your feet are hip-distance apart and your knees are parallel to each other.
On an inhale, press firmly on your feet as you raise your hips toward the ceiling. Interlace your fingers and rotate your upper arms outward so your shoulders can roll under. Keep your arms and hands on the floor while imagining your shoulder blades are moving up and through your chest. This will help open and release tight spots in your upper and middle back and chest area. Hold this position and focus on slow, deep breathing. To come down, release your hands and slowly lower your hips to the floor.
Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including "Sleek Essentials."
A Bridge to a Relaxation
A bridge pose can not only help release tension, but it benefits the back, hips and legs.
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