Achieve better posture with 1 simple stretch and a doorway

MigrainesNeck PainYogaYoga Therapy
July 5, 2022

Tight shoulders. Sore neck. That 3-inches-shorter feeling.

If you’ve had a long day slumped in front of your computer, here’s a quick but powerful stretch that will revive your posture. And instead of ending your workday hunched over, you’ll be standing tall.

This is a stretch/pose I use with almost all of my yoga therapy clients. It helps improve posture, it’s great for desk jockeys suffering from tech neck (aka text neck or forward head posture), and it’s also great to help relieve tightness in the upper body that can lead to tension headaches and migraines. If you saw my post on strengthening your middle and lower trapezius muscles (aka The Marlysa) you’ll know I recommended stretching first before moving into the exercise. If you don’t have enough time for wall clocks, follow along with the video below to give this one a try instead.

Door cactus’ main purpose is to stretch out the pectoralis minor (which does internal rotation of the shoulder), and pectoralis major (which does shoulder adduction – drawing the shoulders together – think bench press). Now just imagine yourself slumped over your computer after a long day of work, or on your phone after an hour scrolling through your latest social media feed. You got the image? This is the perfect stretch to oppose that posture.

How To

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Option PNF stretching

PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) stretching is a great way to increase your flexibility and range of motion. When you’re at a place of sensation and feeling good with your stretch

Notice how you get deeper into the stretch each time you relax? That’s the magic of PNF stretching. You’re reprogramming yourself at a neurological level. If you need a little extra guidance follow along with the video.

Now that you know how to do this pose, just imagine popping over to the office next door at work, casually leaning in to have a conversation. 😉 Your office mate has no idea your trying to counter your desk jockey posture 😆, but in reality you’re stretching out and getting a little break too 🙌.

Did you like this stretch? Don’t forget to check out the video if you haven’t already. And if you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, sign up below for more cool casual stretches to reduce headaches and pain you can do anywhere. 

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Why it works?

As I’ve mentioned in other posts like Wall Clocks, when our pecs are tight it can inhibit our ability to use our back muscles properly to support our head (and upper body). Since this stretch opens up the muscles of the chest it increases our range of motion in the upper body including our ability to engage our middle and lower trapezius muscles. When our lower and middle traps are functioning properly it prevents over recruitment of the upper traps. And when our upper traps are over recruited they can cause tension headaches. No fun! This is a small part of the whole, trying to find balance in all aspects of life (including muscle strength and length) is important for overall well being.