Tracy Groshak :: Vijnana Yoga, Vancouver | Relieving Neck and Shoulder Tension - Tracy Groshak :: Vijnana Yoga, Vancouver

Relieving Neck and Shoulder Tension

Relieving Neck and Shoulder Tension

Posted by admin in Bio-Mechanics, Insights, News 06 Dec 2009

The best solutions come from looking clearly at the underlying cause of the problem.  Vijnana Yoga looks at the tendencies that pull our bodies out of alignment and develops intelligent accessible solutions from there.  In this article I share with you a wonderful isometric exercise for relieving tension from the neck and shoulders. I hope you try them out and find the same freedom from pain.

Let’s begin by understanding the problem.  We spend most of our time working and driving.  Many of us sit in front of a computer for hours stretching our face towards the screen and rolling our shoulders forward.  This over-stretches and weakens the back of the neck eventually flattening the cervical curve (the natural curve of the neck).  With our shoulders rolled forward, the chest and front shoulder muscles shrink and get tight, the upper back muscles stretch and get weak.  If we do this everyday without balancing the effects, the body gets ‘locked’ in this misaligned position and we suffer.  It does not have to be this way. By incorporating some simple exercises into our daily routine we can balance the body back to its natural alignment and live pain free.
To strengthen the back of the neck and re-establish the natural curve in the neck, lay on your back with the feet near the hips, knees pointing skyward.  Have your arms alongside your body with the palms facing up (this relaxes the shoulders down).  Now, press the back of your head steadily into the ground as you stretch your chin up.  Hold this action for a few minutes and breathe slow and steady.  Feel the muscles in the neck with one of your hands.  Can you feel them contracting?  This is good.  We want the back of the neck strong. Practicing this simple action a few times a day with deep slow breath will heal your neck pain.

Now add the action of shoulder release. Bend the elbows and point the fingertips skyward.  Press the elbows into the earth and stretch the chest to the sky. Your shoulders will lift off the ground.  Keep reaching up with the center of your chest and try to stretch the shoulder heads (top of your upper arm bones) down to the ground.  Even if they don’t touch down, that’s okay.  Keep reaching them down as you press steadily with the elbows and reach up with the chest. Can you feel how this is pulling your upper spine into your body?  It is also moving your shoulder blades onto your upper back where they are meant to live. After holding this action and breathing smoothly for a few minutes, roll to your side and sit up.  Feel the difference in your posture.  Again, practicing this a few times a day, first thing in the morning and right before bed, you will begin to reseat your shoulders and strengthen your neck to support its natural curve.
New knowledge becomes wisdom when it is applied.  Adopt a curious attitude and be willing to experiment and explore the effects of these simple exercises on your body.  Nothing feels better than taking command of the areas of our lives that cause us suffering and making positive change.

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