There are certain effects in yoga that you can only achieve with challenging poses, and then there are those poses that do their job and couldn’t be any easier.
So it is with the neck-shoulder-back release: it falls in the category of “if you have two hands [and, um, a shoulder, neck and upper back] you can do this.”
Seeing as most people sit way too long at their computer, this is a fabulous little stretch to do once, twice, or many times a day.
1. Stand. Wrap your left arm around the back and interlace your fingers near your right hip.
2. Tip your head toward your left shoulder. Close your eyes. Take five slow, deep breaths. Feel the right side of the neck and the right shoulder lengthen.
3. Now tilt not just your head but your entire trunk to the left. Keep the abdomen drawn in. Keep the upper back long, even as you lean to the side. Take another five slow, deep breaths.
Repeat on the other side… and repeat as often during the day as needed to give your back and neck a respite from a steady, frozen position.
Benefits: An easy, meditative, everybody-can-do-this stretch to the neck and the spine.
Avoid if: This position is pretty gentle, so modify it if you run into pain (just back off of how far to the side you go with your head or your trunk).
Final thoughts: File this under “things that I can do now instead of fretting that I can’t make it to yoga today.” Then look over the majority of my previous posts, do the same, and there, you’re on your way to being your own best yoga teacher (so long as you keep the focus of each pose as opening you up to better and deeper breathing).
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Ed: Bryonie Wise
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