Today I had a student come up to me and ask me what she could do about her tight neck. She pointed to the space on the left side of her neck and down into her upper shoulder area. She said she tried everything to bring relief, even bought a new fancy pillow with double curves in it. She showed me how she sleeps with that pillow on her left side and I could see that her neck was all curled up and contracted. And guess what… No luck! The pillow did not bring her comfort or relief. She still continues to feel tightness and pain on the left side of her neck.
Are you tight in these muscles?
As we stood facing each other in the lobby, I couldn’t help but notice that when she talked her head tilted to the left and that her left shoulder was higher than her right. I immediately asked her for her cell phone so that I could take a picture right then and there of what I was seeing. Her head and left shoulder were all scrunched up and that is exactly the area she was referring to that was causing her such pain and discomfort.
I showed her the photo and said “Now, you can see for yourself what is aggravating your condition. It is the way you move and hold yourself in your every day routine that is keeping that area tight and constricted. ” I even bet she carries her purse on her left shoulder which can further aggravate her tension.
“Stand up Straight”, “Drop your Shoulders Down” aren’t just a few wise words from your mom or favorite Yoga Teacher, they are really important concepts to creating comfort in our bodies. Most of the time our heads hang out in a particular plane and we can get “locked” into that position. Yoga is all about creating balance and that is why some of our movements are “artificial” in order to help the body gain freedom of movement again.
And yes, you need to do these movements every day to keep your body loose, flexible and agile. That’s why we make Yoga fun here at YogaJP!
The Chair Lean
“Drop your Shoulders Down” or “Let your Shoulders Relax” are common phrases Yoga teachers say. What we are really telling you to do is lower your shoulder girdle away from your ears. If this is not very easy for you to do because of tight neck and shoulder muscles, give this Chair Lean a try. I use the lean because of the longer hold so that your body can remember what it feels like to have more space between the shoulders and the ears.