Movement Wisdom: Embody A Dog Hammock and Realign Your Shoulders

dog hammock











Get down on the floor on your elbows and knees. (Be mindful that your elbows aren’t forward from your shoulders or set wider apart than your shoulders as this reduces the effectiveness of the exercise.)

Allow your chest/ribcage to gently sag toward the floor.

Now, press your elbows into the floor to push your ribcage away from the floor, toward the ceiling.

Allow your whole ribcage to gently sag toward the floor again.

Push your ribcage away from the floor.

Gently lower your ribs, then push them up again.

Can you feel muscle(s) engaging under your armpits as you press your elbows into the floor?

Visualize the muscles gently stretching as you gradually lower your ribcage to the floor.

Feel the muscles shortening to lift your ribcage toward the ceiling.

Imagine your ribcage as the dog sitting in the hammock, his weight gently pulling on either end of the hammock as he sinks toward the ground.

Imagine the ends of the hammock contracting, the middle of the hammock becoming taught, to lift your ribcage dog up toward the sky.

Imagine the ends of your muscle hammock attaching to the undersides of your shoulder blades.

Image the body of your muscle hammock attaching to your ribs, just under and in front of your armpits.

As you lower your ribcage dog, your muscle hammock lengthens and your ribs descend away from your shoulder blades.

(Notice if your head sags toward the floor and bring it back up in alignment with the rest of your spine to lengthen and relax your neck. Notice if your pelvis tilts toward the floor – spilling out all your internal goodies – and gently release your tail between your legs to lift your lower abdominals and lengthen and relax your lower back.)

As you lift your ribcage dog, your muscle hammock shortens and your ribs ascend toward your shoulders blades, which gently hug the back and sides of your ribs stabilizing your shoulders and releasing any unwanted neck and shoulder tension.

Gently and smoothly, your ribs descend away from your shoulder blades and then return for a welcoming shoulder blade hug.


Sit or stand back up and relax your arms at your sides.

What (if anything) is different about your posture?

Do you feel taller?

Your chest more open?

The top of your shoulders relaxed?


Notice something cool or have a question? Post a comment below and share your insights with me. I love hearing from you!


Want to watch your hammock muscle (serratus anterior) in motion? Click HERE for a cool 3-D video.


P.S. Does the hammock imagery resonate with you? Explore more movement and anatomical #ImagerySupport on my Pinterest boards.image
credit: RayMorris1
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