When your neck starts to ache and you feel the tightness run down into your back and shoulders it can be a real pain…literally! Keeping active and even massages aren’t always enough to help and what is sometimes needed is to employ some exercises that are focused on this part of the body, with the aim of releasing tension. What better way than with some yoga for neck pain relief?
Neck pain is a byproduct of modern life
In so many ways life is so much easier than it used to be but the stresses and strains of modern living are all to prevalent as the pressure to not just survive but be a success and provide all the conveniences of life in 2014. Couple this with the progression of technology and you have a recipe for generations of workers hunched over computer keyboards, sat for hours at their desk or stuck in the same position in traffic.
As we stretch out our arms to work in front of our bodies there is a greater strain and demand put on the neck’s smaller muscles to keep balanced and hold the body upright and in this position. Often it is not the function of these less major muscles to perform in this way and after a time the burden becomes such that they just can’t sustain the work without you feeling the pain. While activities and exercise can help, there are many sports which can actually make neck problems worse,
Yoga is about focused movements
As well as giving you that overall feeling of relaxed looseness, yoga is a fantastic exercise system for targeting problem areas and honing in on tight muscles and painful areas. Neck pain can be caused by a shortening of the muscles in this area, as your neck muscles try to overcompensate for your pectoral muscles tightening up and possible alignment problems in your back.
Breathing techniques, involving deep breaths that really use the diaphragm, can relieve tension in the neck caused by shallow breathing that contracts the neck muscles.
Yoga neck stretches
Sit with your legs loosely crossed and your spine and neck straight, with your shoulders back. Feel your neck muscles lengthen by imagining you are being pulled up by an invisible string, like a puppet. Bend your neck to one side, pushing down with the opposite shoulder to create more of a stretch. Move the angle of your head forwards and back to vary the stretch. Bring the head back to the center and repeat on the other side.
Bend your head forward so that your chin rests on your chest. In a slow and controlled way roll the head so that your neck is stretched 360 degrees; making sure not to hunch the shoulders.
Turn the head to the side and bring the arm of that side up to arch over and hold onto the head. Use this to pull your head down so that your chin moves towards your armpit. Again, pull the opposite shoulder down to create a bigger stretch.
Loosen up your shoulders at the end by moving them around and then hunching up and rolling back and dropping your shoulder blades. Keeping your spine straight but not overly rigid.
Does your neck feel longer and less tense? Enjoy greater benefits with yoga the more you practice and you will be amazed at how quickly you start to feel the full effects. If you’re not already using yoga stretches in your workout then get in touch and join us.