Seated side stretch helps you to open the side of the body, and both strengthens and stretches the arms and shoulders. This stretch supports improved ability to maintain self-sufficiency in daily activities such as reaching up to high shelves, washing and combing your hair, and other activities that require you to lift your arms above your head. Move gently and slowly and remember to breathe.
(1) Sit comfortably on a chair. Feet should be planted firmly on the ground. Roll the shoulders down and back to open up the chest. Your posture should feel comfortable.
(2) With an inhale, lift your right hand up and out to the right side, and bring it in an arc above your head.
(3) Gently begin to lean toward the left, stretching the fingertips of the right hand over your head toward the left side. Feel a lengthening through the right side of the body. You can press the palm of the left hand flat into the chair for balance. For a deeper stretch, you can relax the left hand down to the side of the chair and stretch the left fingertips toward the ground.
(4) If you feel comfortable, gently look up toward the fingertips of the right hand. If this feels uncomfortable for your neck, keep your gaze forward and your neck neutral.
(5) Feel a sense of length from right hip to right fingertip. Breathe gently for 5 to 10 deep breaths.
(6) With an exhale, swoop your right hand in an arc over your head and back down to the right side. Relax and take a few deep breaths.
(7) Repeat on the left side.
(8) You can complete each side 2 to 3 times, stretching a little more with each stretch.