Pain in the Neck
Despite who is causing it - pillows, mattresses, even your family - nobody wants a pain in the neck. It seriously cuts down on time that should be spent practicing your interpretation of dramatic look groundhog.
Use these moves to kick that neck pain and speed up your journey to YouTube stardom.
Oh, children. Able to sleep in any crazy position without waking with the terrible neck demons. Perhaps this is why balasana is so comforting to the cervical spine.
To begin, kneel on your mat. Your big toes should be together and you should be resting comfortably on your heels. (This position should, in no way, be uncomfortable.) Roll down your spine and rest your head on the mat in front of your knees, placing your torso between your thighs. Lengthen your tailbone away from the back of your pelvis and create space between your shoulders and ears, relaxing your shoulder blades down your back.
Lay your hands on the floor in front of you and give them a stretch. Then release your arms and breathe into the pose for 1-3 minutes. Child’s pose is a resting pose, so try not to hold any tension in your body.
What do cats and cows have in common? They can both help you to a more flexible spine. Usually paired together, marjaryasana (cat) and bitilasana (cow) are easy to get into and out of and require very little space (think: cubicle yoga!).
We’re going to begin with Cat. Start on all fours with your knees directly below your hips and your wrists in line with your elbows and shoulders. Your back should be in tabletop (flat-back). Keep your head in a neutral position with your eyes gazing towards the floor. Inhale. As you exhale, round your spine up towards the ceiling without changing the position of your knees, shoulders, elbows and wrists. Use your core to create a smooth movement and elongate the spine. Release your head towards the floor, but don’t force your chin downwards. Leave your neck relaxed.
Come back to “neutral” (tabletop) position. Exhale.
We then move directly onto Cow. From tabletop position, inhale and lift your sit bones and chest upwards towards the ceiling, allowing your stomach to move towards the floor. Lift your head to look straight forward, but keep your neck relaxed. Exhale and come back to neutral position.
Repeat this flow 10-20 times.
Given a name like Extended Puppy, you would assume this pose would, in some way, be painful. Alas, it is quite the opposite. Stretching the arms, spine and neck, uttana shishosana is quite comfortable.
Begin on your hands and knees. Align your wrists with your elbows and shoulders and place your knees under your hips. Inhale and walk your hands forwards a few inches and curl your toes under.
Exhale and move your butt halfway towards your heels. Do not release in your arms. Make sure to keep them active and do not let your elbows touch the ground.
Let your forehead drop to the mat and let your neck relax. You can keep a slight curve in your lower back. To deepen the stretch, keep your hands down and elongate your arms while pressing back through your hips. Breathe into your back and side ribs and allow your spine to lengthen. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then release your butt down to your heels and release your arms, folding into Child’s Pose.
We hope you had a happy September and a wonderful National Yoga Month!