Stretch the Neck

Cow’s-face-pose-Gomukhasana-211. Cowface:

While kneeling, reach your right arm to the ceiling; bend your right elbow, and allow your right hand to fall between your shoulder blades.

Take your left hand to your right elbow and allow the weight of the hand to deepen the shoulder opening.

Stay here for five deep breaths, leaning back slightly into your arms and taking care that the right arm isn’t putting any pressure on your neck.

You may also hold a strap in your right hand first, letting it drop down your back.  Clasp the strap with the left hand when you bend it back and gently walk the hands together with the strap.

Repeat on the other side.

  1. Standing Forward Fold with Shoulder Opener:

From standing, clasp your hands behind your back, soften through your knees and fold forward, hinging from the hips.

Breathe here for five to ten deep breaths.

  1. Thread the Needle:

From all fours, reach your right arm underneath your body, allowing your right shoulder and temple to release to the ground. Your left hand can stay where it is, or crawl a bit to the right over your head.

Breathe here for 10 deep breaths, and then repeat on the other side.

  1. Seated Spinal Twist:

Sit with legs long in front of you. Bend right knee and place right foot outside of left knee. (You can keep left leg long or fold it in like a half-cross-legged seat.)

Wrap left arm around right leg and place right hand on the ground behind sacrum.

Breathe here for 5 deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Some additional tips to help reduce neck issues:

— Stop looking down at your phone while you walk! This action causes your neck to overstretch in a position that is not natural, and leads to pain.

— Think about rolling your shoulders down and together on your back any time you can. Good posture allows the neck to be in its ideal, least taxing position.

— Think about tucking your chin closer to your neck. Many of us jut our chins forward, as we are constantly looking and moving forward: another unnatural position for the neck that causes strain.