Recently I came across the article “Here’s What Texting Really Does to Your Spine“
That’s so sad to see more and more people with back and neck problems and it is all because of bad posture resulting from the use of electronics like the phone or laptop.
Spending hours sitting at a desk, tilting our neck to stare at the screens isn’t doing any favours for our posture and spinal health. Neck and upper back pain are also linked with emotional tension and stress. Good news are – yoga does a pretty good job at dealing with those!
These poses lengthen the front muscles of the neck, which tend to get shortened when we hunch over a screen or a keyboard. They also realign the shoulders and upper thoracic spine, freeing the lower cervical vertebrae. Restoring a natural curve in the spine also opens the shoulders and may even ease rotator cuff and elbow pain.
1. SHOULDER TENSION RELIEF EXERCISE
Breath in deeply drawing your shoulders up towards your ears. Then, as you exhale slowly and deeply, release and relax your shoulders. Gently draw your shoulder blades gently towards each other and down your back.
Now lengthen through your spine, from your tailbone to the crown of your head, and then gently tilt your right ear towards your right shoulder. Gently extend your left arm towards the floor, lengthening through the side of your neck. Exhale to release any tension in the neck and then on an inhale, bring the head back to centre. Repeat on the other side.
2. CHILDS POSE, Balasana
Child’s pose is a very good way to start a practice and warming up the shoulders. It’s also an excellent rest pose during a dynamic flow.
Come to your hands and knees, press your hips back into your heels. Open the knees a little and then rest your belly and chest on your thighs. Extend the arms to the front to lengthen the spine, press the hips toward the heels. arms beside you and palms up.
3. UPWARD FACING DOG, Urdhva Mukha Svanasana
Lying on the floor, stretch your legs back, with the tops of your feet on the floor. Bend your elbows and spread your palms on the floor beside your chest. Inhale and pressing your palms into the floor straighten your arms and simultaneously lift your chest up.
Keep the thighs firm and slightly turned inward, tuck the pelvis under.
Look straight ahead or tip the head back slightly, but take care not to compress the back of the neck and harden the throat.
Urdhva Mukha Svanasana is one of the positions in the traditional Sun Salutation sequence. You can also practice this pose individually, holding it anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. Release back to the floor or lift into Adho Mukha Svanasana with an exhalation.
4. DOWNWARD FACING DOG, Adho Mukha Svanasana
Come to the four-point kneeling position. Then lift your knees away from the floor.
Press down through your palms, spreading the fingers, index fingers pointing towards the front. Draw your shoulder blades toward the lower back, shoulders away from your ears, keep opening thorough the chest.
Keep your spine nice and long, lift the sitting bones toward the ceiling. You can keep your gaze in between your thighs or to your lower back if it’s comfortable on your neck.
Adho Mukha Svanasana is one of the major positions in the traditional Sun Salutation sequence.
5. WIDE-LEGGED STANDING FORWARD FOLD, Prasarita Padottanasana variation
Step your feet about 3 to 4 feet apart, interlace your fingers behind your back (you can use the strap as well). Inhale to lengthen the spine and open up through the chest, exhale to slowly fold forward. Draw your hands away from the spine, opening up through the shoulders. Relax your neck, let your head hang. When you are ready, slowly come up using the strength of your legs.
6. EAGLE POSE, Garudasana
Stand in Tadasana. Bend your knees slightly, lift your left foot up and, balancing on your right foot, cross your left thigh over the right and hook the top of the left foot behind the right calf. Cross the arms in front of your torso so that the right arm is above the left, then bend your elbows. The palms are facing each other, press the palms together.
Stay for 3 to 5 deep breaths, then unwind the legs and arms and stand in Tadasana again. Repeat the same at the other side.
7. BRIDGE POSE, Setu Bandhasana
Lie down on your back and bend your knees, feet hip width apart and on the mat. As you breathe out, press your feet into the mat and tuck your pelvis under, peel your spine off the floor. Walk your shoulders slightly closer to each other and interlace your fingers behind your back. Keep pressing down through your feet to raise your hips up, and pressing through the shoulders to draw the sternum towards the chin. You have the option here to support your lower back with your hands, place a block under your hips. Hold from 3 to 5 deep breaths and then slowly release your spine down to the floor. Perform the gentle supine twist after.
How do you feel now?