Tuesday, September 11, 2018

What? ...a pain in the neck

Is life giving you a pain in the neck? Are you carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? Is so, you're not alone. 

Neck and shoulder pain usually go together. The most common cause of neck and shoulder pain is stress, either emotional or physical. Much of the physical tension we experience comes from our lifestyle choices. Many of us spend most of our days sitting, rounding our bodies forward while driving, working on a computer, or scrolling through our smartphones. Yes, even the way we sleep can give us a pain in the neck, and in our high-stress, hurried world many of us often feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. The body is clever though, when we are out of alignment it gives us a nudge. If we take notice and make adjustments, life can return to normal pretty quickly. But if we ignore the signals, what starts out as a little pain frequently turns into a big pain. 

Tight shoulders and a stiff neck may be telling you something on an emotional level. The mind/body connection is real. We know our minds carry our emotional stress, but our bodies do too. Our necks relate to how we express ourselves. Are we able to speak our personal truths? Neck problems can also relate to flexibility. Our necks allow us to turn and see things from a different perspective. Are we being stiff necked about something? Do we need to look at it from a different angle? Everything that is dear to us is held by our hands and carried to our hearts through our shoulders; however, our shoulders are also where we carry our burdens. Are we carrying too much responsibility? Can we set something down? 

Yoga helps us ease neck and shoulder pain on many levels. Physically, we stretch tight muscles and strengthen weak ones as we cultivate flexibility, stability and ease of movement. Emotionally, yoga is a potent stress reliever. It teaches us how to relax and connect to an inner sense of peace. Using yoga as a tool to relieve physical and emotional stress is one of the many ways we can heal ourselves. Taking the time to relieve the stress of neck and shoulder pain can help you feel revitalized in the whole body. Revitalized, I love this word, to be imbued with new life and vitality.  

Our story this month; Relieving stress revitalizes me!

The following are a couple of stretches to relieve neck and shoulder tension. 

Come to sitting mountain, easy pose, a stable, steady cross legged position, let your seat settle into the ground, let the spine be straight and strong and the head lift high to the sky. You can come into sitting mountain in a chair also, both feet resting on the ground, knees hip distance apart and over the ankles. 

Neck stretch 1; Inhale and extend the spine as you bring the hands behind the head and interlace the fingers, the elbows are out wide, exhale and lower the chin to the chest bringing the elbows toward one another, pause, let the gently weight of the hands and gravity release the neck, relax the shoulders. Inhale slowly and deeply as you lift the head and open the elbows wide, repeat the movement several times. (see image above)

Neck stretch 2; Interlace the hands behind the back and bring both hands to the left waist. Inhale and sit tall, exhale and lower the left ear to the left shoulder, relax the shoulders. Hold the pose for 3 deep breaths. Return the head to the center and turn to look left. Hold 3 deep breaths. Repeat on the opposite side. 

Happiness and health,