This is a terrific shoulder opener and overall body stretch. You can do this in your office, at home, while waiting for an airplane, or where ever you are near a chair! Most of us hold a lot of tension and stress in our shoulders so why not give it this a try?!
Chair Downward Dog:
Stand facing the back of the chair with your feet hip width apart holding onto the back of the chair with your hands shoulder width. Walk your feet back until your arms are straight but not strained. Press back with the back of your legs ( you can also keep your legs bent), bring your chest forward, lengthen the crown of your head, engaging your stomach muscles, you might need to adjust your feet forward or back depending on what feels right. Breath here, release your neck and jaw. Stay here and breathe for as long as you wish. To come out of the pose press through your hands, lift your head and walk your feet forward to where you feel you can comfortably stand upright again.
Chair Shoulder Opener:
Stand facing the back of the chair with your feet hip width apart, bend your elbows and place the back of your elbows (where there is a slight indentation) onto the back of the chair, bringing your hands to a prayer position with your finger tips pointing the ceiling. As you do this walk your feet back, until your back is flat (or as flat as you can) and press back with your sitting bones, you can also keep your legs bent. This pose is a shoulder opener and ham string stretch. Lower your chest down and lengthen the crown of your head while pressing the backs of your legs away. If you would like to deepen the stretch take the prayer to the back of your head, to the nape of your neck. Breath deeply in either variation. To come out of the pose, if your hands are behind your head lift the prayer to the ceiling, lift your chest, press into your elbows and walk your feet forward towards the chair, when you can place your hands on the back of the chair and roll up the spine to stand. Coming out may not feel graceful but the results and feeling of openness are worth it!