Do you spend the bulk of your days at work sitting hunched at a computer or your phone? If so, you’ve probably experienced some neck stiffness or soreness at some point in time. I know I have, and thankfully yoga can help!
Why should you care?
Studies show that every inch your head protrudes from it’s normal position, you add 10 pounds of force on your neck. This can restrict your breathing and shorten muscles around your chest, shoulders, and anterior neck. Some symptoms can include fatigue, inability to concentrate, jaw pain, headaches, neck, and shoulder pain.
Here are 4 mild back-bending and twisting poses that can help you realign your posture and relieve neck pain caused from forward head posture.
Plow pose is a mild inversion that stretches the entire back of your shoulders, legs, and vertebral column. It is considered an inversion because it involves your hips being over your heart.
Begin lying on your back, with your palms facing down. Extend your legs overhead and then push off your hands to bring your feet past your head. You may or may not have the flexibility in your hamstrings to allow the tops of your feet to rest on the ground. Focus on aligning your hips over your shoulders. Allow your chin to rest against your chest. You should feel an intense stretch in your spine, specifically the cervical vertebrae, as well as the backs of your legs. If you need more support you can rest your shoulders on a rolled up yoga mat or towel to allow your legs to go over your head easier.
Camel pose is a great back bending variation that most beginners can do. This pose strengthens your back and stretches out the entire front of your body including your thighs, abs, chest, and neck.
Start sitting up on your knees with your toes curled under. Grab your ankles and turn your fingers inwards. Squeeze your glutes and begin to push your hips forward. Allow your head to relax back and elbows to extend as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Relax your low back and soften around your throat and jaw.
To release the pose, bring your hands to your hips, and decompress your spine by coming into a child’s pose.
This pose strengthens the muscles of your neck and upper back and stretches your throat, chest, ribs and hip flexors.
Start in a seated position with your legs extended in front of you. Slide your hands, palms down, underneath your glutes. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and allow your forearms to rest on the ground. Let your head drop back so you are resting on the crown of your head. You should have a deep arch in your lumbar and thoracic spine. You can also practice this position with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor for more support.
This classic twisting posture is great for stretching your shoulders, hips, and neck. I find this pose to be helpful as a mobility exercise in order to maintain full rotational ability in your neck.
Start in a seated position with both legs extended in front of you. Bring one knee into your chest, crossing your foot over the extended leg. Now bend the extended leg so your heel makes contact with the outside of your thigh. Extend through the crown of your head as you root through your sitz bones, maintaining contact between your glutes and the ground. Begin to twist over to the same side as your top leg, bringing your opposite elbow to make contact with the outside of your thigh. Use your back hand to prop yourself up tall, as you twist from your waist.
Check Ya Neck
I suggest practicing these postures at the end of your workday or every few hours after sitting at a computer or desk. You can hold each pose anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remember to breathe deeply and ease into each posture slowly to feel the restorative and relaxing effects.
Stay strong, stay mobile…
Til next time, peace, ❤ and ninja kicks!