Many of my clients and students have to come to me recently with stiff necks, tight shoulders and sore backs. Most spend the majority of their day hunkered over a computer while others are just weighed down by heavy bags and busy schedules. I often times even catch myself completely slumped over during my commutes and it takes it toll. Stress often winds up stored in the neck, shoulders, and back, which eventually weakens our muscles, limits our range of motion, strains our joints and commands our attention – when our body is in pain it takes up our time and focus. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. The shoulder girdle is designed to allow the neck and arms to move freely and once we learn to fully relax the muscles, we can then strengthen them.
Yoga doesn’t have to be strenuous or super hard core. Try practicing poses with the least amount of tension and effort and focus on finding comfort. Use your breath for support and listen to what your body is telling you. Be mindful of tight or painful areas as you move.
Easy poses to release tension –
For sore necks try:
Lying on your back with a blanket or towel rolled under your neck. The roll should be large enough to wedge between the base of your skull and your shoulders. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Elbows together, place the palms of your hands on your forehead. With deep breaths, gently begin to slide the shoulder blades away from your skull. Remain up to 5 minutes, then remove the roll and continue to lie on your back for a few more breaths.
For sore backs try:
Standing with feet hip width apart and parallel. Bend your knees enough so you can drape your belly and chest on your thighs. Release your arms and your neck. Relax muscles along the spine and breathe, patiently waiting for them to release. To come out, curl hips under and slowly roll up stacking each vertebrae, one on top of the other until you are upright.
For sore shoulders try:
Beginning on your hands and knees. Thread your right arm under your left until you are resting on your right shoulder and the right side of your face. Ease into rolling a bit more into your shoulder and stay for a few breaths. Come out and try the other side.