Release Tight Shoulders at Work

Amy Ippoliti's go-to shoulder opener to ease tension from sitting at a desk for too long.
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Amy Ippoliti's go-to shoulder opener to ease tension from sitting at a desk for too long.
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Office workers know well the unmistakable sign that you've been sitting hunched at a computer too long: your shoulders have started to climb up toward your ears, knotting into a sticky, sore mass.

Listen up: Yoga Journal LIVE! teacher Amy Ippoliti has a stretch for you. (And it just may keep you from getting carpel tunnel syndrome, too, she hints.)

How to do it: Stand facing a wall; close enough that you could kiss it. Bend your right arm and place the forearm on the wall in front of you, just about shoulder height or a bit higher. Press the outside edge of your hand into the wall, palm facing out to the side. Now, start to take tiny steps in a circle in the direction the palm is facing, turning your body first, then head. Don’t walk away from the wall; just turn your feet and body from it while keeping your forearm and hand edge pressed into it. As you turn, you’ll feel the stretch across the chest, the outside of the shoulder, and feel your scapula push deep into the back. Keep turning until you reach your gentle limit. Stay here for a few breaths. Then, on an exhale, reverse direction, turning your feet, body, and head back to face the wall. Do a Down Dog variation with your hands on the wall. Come back to standing close to the wall, switch arms, and, on an inhale, do the stretch on the other side. Go each way 5 or 6 times, and perform the flow as many times throughout the day as you can.