3) Correcting Imbalances: Upper Back General Approach

Correcting imbalance means to stretch tight, shortened muscles and strengthen muscles that have overstretched and weakened.

  • Countering effects of forward head posture through such practices as releasing tension in the chest and regaining upper back mobility
  • Lengthening the spine to address excessive upper back curve
  • Safely* strengthening muscles that have overstretched and weakened, including the serratus anterior muscles
  • Considering twists for strengthening and stretching muscles that twist upper back to right and left

* IMPORTANT: Mindful, Safe Progression in Strengthening Shoulders

  • Protecting and healing the shoulder girdle involves activating and strengthening shoulder muscles. But while Downward Facing Dog and Handstand work these muscles, the weight-bearing in such poses puts the shoulders in a vulnerable position.
  • It’s important to first mindfully build strength and mobility in shoulders before being weight.
  • Therefore, it is much safer to utilize preparatory poses where the shoulders are more stable. (See examples in Poses to Consider below.)
  • Experts describe here how the first step is teaching the student to bring the shoulders back and pull the shoulder blades toward each other. And then, once this healthy position can be held in Mountain Pose, then the next step is to keep proper form “while supporting a modest amount of weight (in poses like tabletop and sphinx).” From there, gradually increase the load on the shoulders to such poses as Plank and Chaturanga Dandasana.