Going back to the anatomy, the latissmus dorsi contracts when the shoulder extends, with the arm stretching behind the torso, and internally rotates, with the palm facing up in that behind-the-torso position. Flipping that, then, flexing the shoulder to raise the arm in front of the torso and externally rotating the shoulder stretches the lats.
Maybe one of the most common lat-stretching asanas is the extended version of balasana, or child’s pose. I’ve seen balasana used as an integration pose, as a warm-up pose, as part of vinyasas, as a resting pose between vinyasas, as a cool down pose, and as a posture for final meditation. And now it’s a lat stretching pose too.
And I do not know if the speaker in this video has yoga training, but these variations — on what is essentially utthita balasana — are too good not to post:
I’m not sure if the tightness is actually in my lats or not, but I have to say that I find the shoulder wiggling pretty delightful. For me, it’s working through some kind of tension there, regardless of the specific origin. And the palms up arm lifts? Bring so much relief to my back. They take away tension I didn’t even know I had. I do not want to sound like a poster child for One Size Fits All Yoga (because I don’t think such a thing exists), but I am a firm believer in moving my body in new ways and integrating those experiences.
This is one worth integrating.