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Some people have such built-up tension in the superficial muscles of the neck and chest that it is well-nigh impossible to access hidden muscles like the pectoralis minor without some much-needed prep work. My student Ellen has a very forward head posture and rounded shoulders, and a lot of tension around her jaw and neck. We worked together with releasing top-most muscle layer, the platysma (a thin sheath that spans the jawbone to the chest), with the Marlon Brando stretch (check it out on the 5 minute Quick Fix for Neck video and also below). This movement also stretches the scalenes, which are the muscles responsible for laterally flexing and rotating the head and neck. After releasing her platysma and scalenes, Ellen was able to better balance her head over her shoulder girdle as well as relax her shoulders, creating better posture and the ability to breathe more easily.

Read how to “Free your shoulders.”

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