This week is about releasing stress and tension from the neck, shoulders and upper back. This is a place where most of us like to hold tension. And due to the repetitiveness of what our day invites us to do, work on the computer, read, study, etc. it is compounded and causes us to hold on to even more tension as we strain these muscles. One of the biggest culprits of this as we all know, is the use of our hand held devices. It has become so common to have ailments from using them that there is an actual term that was coined by a chiropractor in the early 2000’s called ‘text neck.’
Below are several stretches to help open and lengthen the muscles of the shoulders, neck and upper back. After looking at them and how to do them, see if you can put your phone up, put on your favorite playlist and give yourself 20 minutes to be present and in the moment while doing these. Stay anywhere from 1-5 minutes depending on how you feel and do both sides of it applies.
Happiest Hump Day to you! 💞
Neck Stretches- Picture 1
Drop your right ear to your right to your right shoulder, allow for your left shoulder to relax. Hold here for about a minute. You can stay or if you would like to add a little more stretch, bring your hand to the side of your head for added weight. No need to pull on the head, the weight of the hand on the head should be enough. 🙂 before moving to the other side, you can drop your chin to your chest and trace your collarbone with your chin for neck circles. You can also place the hands to the back of the head for added weight.
Thread the needle- Picture 2 and 3
From your tabletop pose, you will lift your right arm up and then thread it under your opposite arm, the hips can stay lifted or you can lower them to your heels if that feels better. Turn your head to the left and place your ear either onto a block or onto your mat. Breathe into the back of your shoulder.
Wall stretch- Picture 4
The wall is a great tool to use in helping us stretch. You will face the wall and bring your hands to chest level. Begin to walk the legs back and you will fold at the hips. Your ankles should be under your hips as you are folding in. This one is great for helping with rounded shoulders and opening the upper back up.
Reverse Needle- Picture 5 and 6
Laying on your belly, you will bring your left arm out to the side. Bend your right knee and step your right foot over your left leg. Depending on how tight you are will depend on how far you can roll into this pose. Once you are in it, you can either support the top leg with a block under the knee or you can bring your foot to the floor. This pose is amazing for opening the front of the shoulders up as well as the chest.
Supported Savasana-Picture 7
You will need two blocks for this one or you can use a rolled up blanket and some bigger books to support your head. I would recommend buying a couple of blocks if you can because we will use them in so many of the poses. You will take one block or your rolled up blanket and bring it under the bottom of the shoulder blades turned horizontally to your mat. The second one will support your head under the base of the skull. You may need to adjust the blocks slightly once you are in it until it feels just right. Let the arms relax out to the sides and breathe into the front of the body, the chest and the shoulders. You will roll off of your support and find savasana to end your practice. Stay as long as you’d like.