Have you experienced stiffness in your neck that just seems to never wear off? How about that annoying pain in your upper or lower back? Or maybe some discomfort in your shoulder blades that stops you from moving freely?
Accept it, today’s people are mostly desk jockeys with poor posture dealing with stress and an incredible amount of pain in their bodies. Most of us choose to neglect it and continue dealing with life feeling drained. The longer the body is exposed to bad habits such as poor posture, the more that gravity manifests it’s effects on our bodies causing misalignment in spine, a hunched back, and pain everywhere.
Awareness of breath.
Stretching tensed muscles can help ease the pain and improve the physiological structure of the body. It directly counteracts the affected area while relaxing the muscles. Stretching and breathing go hand in hand. Your awareness of breathing allows the parasympathetic nervous system to ease out. Inhalation conditions the body and the mind to prepare strength and composure before approaching a pose and exhalation helps ease any tension and stabilize the body. Executing the postures with proper form and proper breathing must be kept in mind to fully experience the benefits of the practice.
Yoga has been known for its enormous benefits and is proven to improve overall health. Here are some poses that would definitely help release tensed muscles in your back and rid of discomfort in your neck:
Standing Forward Bent/ Uttasana. This pose stretches the lower back and allows the neck to relax, creating more space for movement, releasing stiff muscles and improving blood circulation to the brain.
How: Stand straight with your feet together. Inhale sucking the belly in as you raise your hands up, pressing the palms against each other. Exhale reach for your toes, keeping your spine’s natural curve. If possible, you can intensify the stretch by hugging your legs to your body. If you can’t reach for your toes, just hold your elbows. Inhale look forward, lifting your chest and exhale fold forward again. Inhale as you stand back up to release. Do this maneuver for 3-5 times.
Easy Seated Twist/ Sukhasana Parivrtti. This twisting pose does not require much flexibility but can effectively release tension on neck all the way down the lower back. Remember to move with awareness and proper breathing throughout the flow.
How: Sit comfortably with crossed legs on the ground. Inhale as you place your left hand on your right knee and exhale while gently twisting your torso and your head to right. Breathe deeply. Deepen your twist with every exhalation. Slowly release as you exhale back to normal seating position. Do the same twisting pattern on the other side.
Cobra Pose/ Bhujangasana. This pose is the easiest way to decompress the back caused by long period of sitting, allowing the spine to neutralize the hunched back effect on our posture and loosens stiff muscles at the back of neck. It also opens the shoulders and the chest.
How: Start on a Downward-Facing Dog with your hands and feet planted on the ground forming an inverted V. Inhale as you transition to a plank and exhale lower down to Yoga push up, chaturanga, then all the way towards the floor. Press your elbows in and keep your legs activated, lifting the knee caps. Slowly send your chest forward and up keeping the back of your neck long. Broaden your collar bones and roll your shoulders back and down. Stay for 3-5 breaths and roll your torso down as you exhale to release. Curl you toes under and press back up to Downward-Facing Dog.
These postures will surely help ease pain in the neck and back while strengthening them. Being aware of proper posture would also have a big impact in preventing any discomfort or injury. Be mindful with your movements and your thoughts and face life’s uncertainties with composure.