August 20, 2014.
So many of us spend much of the day hunched over a computer or a tablet or a smartphone. Our neck and shoulders become tense, tight and even painful. Our senses and our wits become dull. Take time, several times a day, to step away from your work or your online play. Stretch. Breathe in deeply. Move. Of course, it’s wonderful if you have the time and space to do a few asanas, yoga poses, but you might not be able to do that much in the middle of the day. Here are two things you can take care of almost anywhere you are—neck and shoulder movements to release tension and help with posture.
For these, we move the neck forward and from side to side. As the vertebrae in the neck are not made as ball joints, it is not recommended to move the head in a circular fashion. Although this circular movement may feel good initially, it can cause long-term problems. Prevention is better than cure.
Sit comfortably in a chair or on the floor with your spine erect. Leave the shoulders and arms relaxed. Inhale. Exhale as you bend the head forward so that the chin comes toward the chest.
Breathe normally as you allow all the muscles to relax. With each inhalation and exhalation, feel the gentle stretch on the back of the neck. Allow the weight of the head to help stretch.
Inhale and bring the head back to the center. Exhale. Relax.
Inhale. Exhale as you slowly bring the right ear toward the right shoulder. Feel the stretch on the left side of the neck. Keep the shoulders relaxed, not raising them toward the ears; just tilt the head toward the shoulder. Keep the breath regular and, with each exhalation, feel the neck relax. Inhale and raise the head to center, exhale and relax.
Inhale. Exhale as you bring the left ear toward the left shoulder. Relax the head and breathe normally. Feel the right side of the neck relax. Inhale and raise the head back to center. Exhale and relax. Allow the eyes to close. Relax a moment and experience the neck free from tension.
For shoulder rotations we make circular movements with the shoulders. Keep the arms and hands relaxed and at your sides so that the weight of the arms aids in the relaxation.
Inhale and slowly begin to raise the shoulders up toward your ears (even further than they already are!). Exhale and move the shoulders forward as if to touch under the chin. Inhale and bring the shoulders down toward the floor. Exhale and bring the shoulders back behind you so that the shoulder blades come close together. Feel the chest expanding.
Continue these movements at your own pace. Keep the breath even and go slowly through each part of the movement. Move even slower through any especially tense or sore spots, coaxing—but not forcing— them to let go.
After a few repetitions allow the shoulders to relax. Gently shake the arms.
Repeat the same circular movements in the opposite direction. Keep the breath normal and the arms relaxed. Feel the tension leave the shoulders. Gently shake the arms and relax with the eyes closed.
Notice how relaxed the neck and shoulders feel. Allow a smile to come to your face as you feel the relaxation and the energy moving freely from the heart to the head and the head to the heart.
Enjoy the Change
All the nerves that nourish the senses run through the neck and shoulders. With tension, the flow of energy is inhibited. Without energy the senses dull. Perhaps with tension gone your senses may be keener, your eyesight brighter, and your hearing clearer.
Be still enough to notice any changes. Do this several times a day, and you’ll feel even better.
❤ The Healing Path of Yoga by Nischala Joy Devi