News flash: the holidays are coming!
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or just a big nosh up picnic on the beach with friends and family, the time for festive assemblages is rapidly approaching.
There will be shopping for gifts. There will be parties at work and clubs, and lunches and dinners. There will be a rush to finish things up, so you can chill out over the Christmas break.
And, there will be stress! Activities that should give us a sense of fun and joy, unfortunately sometimes instead give us a pain in the neck instead, literally. So, I think it’s timely for me to offer you several of my best poses for neck ache from my yoga tool box. This is a short sequence to fit into a busy schedule. Don’t rush through it, especially the supine ‘block pose’, and if you have a little more time repeat poses 1-3.
1. Garudasana – For opening up the upper thoracic and releasing the rhomboids. Remember to keep your shoulders down to release your neck muscles. One minute each side.
2. Gomukhasana – Let’s you rotate arms and shoulders to help correct rounded upper back and forward head position. Keep your head resting on the body’s midline to create length in your neck. One minute each side.
3. Chair Twist – To create ease of rotation in your neck. As you turn into your twist, extend the back of your head up and make sure it is in the midline. Only turn your neck within your range of movement, and, to avoid any discomfort, move only with gentle exhalations. One minute each side.
4. Block Pose – For releasing tension in the upper thoracic, especially the rhomboid muscles. Lie on the set-up of props (image below) with the foam block between C7 and T6 vertebrae (adjust for your own anatomy). Your head and neck are supported on the blanket and bolster. Keep your shoulders right to the edge of the blanket but not on top of it. Stay for 8 minutes.
Props for Block Pose
5. Legs Up the Wall – For a gentle neck stretch. Elevate your hips onto a bolster/blanket and have a long folded blanket under your shoulders and neck. Drop your chin to create length in your neck. Surrender the weight of your head to the floor. Stay for 5-10 minutes.