Megan Hively knows yoga.  I know this because I took her class several weeks ago.  The class was excellent,  just difficult enough but gave ample time for proper stretching.  I was sore the next day in the good, I exercised my body and feel it, kind of way. She impressed me with the flow of the class and knowledge of yoga so I decided to ask her to give the Effortless and Exquisite readers an everyday pose that is simple.  She chose an upper body stretch that’s great after a long day at work, especially for those that spend the day at a desk. 

We do a number of activities in our daily lives that tighten our chest muscles and pull our shoulders forward.  From that long drive to work “hunched” over the steering wheel, to typing on our computers for work or school, to physical activities such as tennis, our chest muscles are working overtime.  As these chest muscles tighten, they begin to pull the shoulders forward which can cause the upper back muscles to be overstretched (and feel uncomfortable), impede shoulder function, and could prevent us from breathing fully (due to the improper posture) which could possibly cause feelings of fatigue.

Today’s stretch is one you can do at home or even at work to begin opening up the shoulders and chest area and start to bring balance to the chest and back.  All you need is a wall!

Before we begin, I want to emphasize that you please listen to your body and move slowly!  You should feel tension, but not pain. 

Begin by facing the wall, and extend your right arm out from your body like a T.  Keeping a slight bend in the elbow, place the palm of the right hand on the wall. 


From here, start to turn your body to the left, attempting to get the right shoulder on the wall.  This may be plenty!  If you feel you can go further, continue to turn the body away from the wall (towards the left shoulder) until you feel tension.  Hold this for 30 seconds and then switch sides.


Next, face the wall again, extend the right arm out like a T and then bend the elbow until it looks like a cactus arm (or half a goal post).  Once the palm and elbow are touching the wall, start to turn the body to the left.  Once again trying to get the right shoulder on the wall.  Stay here if you are feeling tension.  Otherwise, continue to turn the body towards the left until you feel the stretch.  Hold for 30 seconds and then switch sides.

Lastly, enjoy the improved openness of your chest and shoulders!  Maybe even a bonus of extra energy! 
So what drew Megan to yoga, we asked?

I have always been interested in movement and exercise and especially in challenging my body and mind by trying new forms of exercise.  I heard about the physical practice of yoga during my Junior year in college and decided to give it a try.  My first practice took place in my friend’s living room to a rented VHS tape.  I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and I think I held my breath for the entire session thinking that I had to get as deep as possible in each pose (and look like the rubber-band-like instructor on the tape!).  Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling so great by the time the session was over and I put yoga in the pile of “not for me!”   

It wasn’t until I moved to Charlotte almost 13 years ago that I tried again and that it became a consistent practice.  When I first moved to the area, there was only one person I knew from my hometown and they moved back to West Virginia shortly after I got settled.  It was a stressful and scary time for me startinga new life in a new city and I was getting increasingly more anxious.  Luckily, it was during this time that I decided to give yoga another shot.  This time, however, I went to an actual studio and learned about the importance of breathing (and listening to my body).  By the time I left my first class, I was feeling more grounded and more relaxed.  That studio became my comfort zone.

Megan teaches yoga in and around Charlotte and owns a yoga and fitness wellness company.   Her classes are excellent, it is definitely worth your time to check one out.
Megan is a Certified Yoga Instructor, group fitness instructor and Certified Personal Trainer in the Charlotte, North Carolina area.  She is the Fitness Director at KadiFit Studio in Cornelius, North Carolina and the owner of Yoga To You Wellness, LLC. 

You May Also Like