Neck Tension is a real thing and it can be accelerated by the posture we have throughout our work day. Then add tension, or stress from day-to-day life and we’ve got a perfect storm for an unhappy neck. The good news is that we can do something before the discomfort turns into chronic pain. Yes, chronic pain can be avoided by taken a moment to be aware of the cues are bodies are giving us over the course of the day. We need to develop the practice of stopping to listen to it and then being proactive with appropriate response.
Right now, stop and take a survey of your current posture. How are you feet placed? How is your weight distributed across your hips? What is the shape of your spine? Is your head in front of your neck, or over your shoulders where it was designed to be? How is your breathing? Is it shallow, is deep, or did you just discover you’re holding your breath…it’s a common phenomenon, so don’t be alarmed just take a deep breath and let it go.
After accessing your current posture, let’s now find ways we can improve and why it’s important. Move everything out of the way and let’s begin. Come onto your chair and place your feet hip distance apart on the floor. Notice if your legs are below your hips, inline with your hips, or above your hips and adjust them to the ideal 90 degree angle. You can place a pillow under your feet, or under your seat depending on what needs to be adjusted. Once your feet are anchored and your legs are in good alignment, begin to press equally into your feet and notice what happens without extra effort.
Did you notice that the tops of your legs became active and your spine became a bit taller? If so, that’s great! You’ve brought in blood flow to your low body while simultaneously creating more space for your natural breath to travel within your torso which is great for energy, clarity and digestion.
Now while keeping the action of your feet begin to move your shoulders over you hips and take notice of what you’re feeling. Improved posture? Room around your abdomen (tummy)? Length on both sides of your torso (body) from your hips to your shoulders? More room to breath? Activation of your entire back? If you’ve said yes to any of these questions that is splendid! You’re well onto your journey of better body awareness which is vital for your overall well-being. Also, now that these questions have been presented to you through the power of suggestion it will help you explore them more deeply. So, keep coming back to explore the sensory feedback your body is communicating with you. Take notice of what feels good to your body and what doesn’t. Make adjustments as needed. For example, you might notice that you need a pillow behind your low back for support until your core and spine become stronger for your new upright posture.
Ok, at this point you’re probably thinking I thought this post was on neck tension? Yes, you’re one hundred percent correct and we have to remember that the knee bone is connected to the hip bone, and so on. Whatever is happening, or not happening in our lower body has an eventual impact on our upper body too. So we’re building our best and ideal posture from the ground up! Make sense? Good, let’s keep it going.
Alright now that the the feet are planted, the knees and the hips are in better alignment, the torso is long on both sides with the breath moving better and. now you need to think about where your head is hanging-out in space. Typically it’s slightly forward of the body, even more so if you keep a slouch in your upper spine. Fun fact, did you know your head can weigh up to as much as 15 pounds??? Ummmm, that doesn’t sound like an ideal weight for the neck to carry solo and that’s why the shoulders are there just waiting to help carry the load. So, move your ear lobes in line with the tops of your shoulders and let the top of your head reach for the ceiling. Take a deep breath…….now does’t that feel good? I mean really, isn’t it nice to feel the expansion of breath with the best alignment you can work your body into from the ground up.
Just stay here a bit breathing and accessing what you’re experiencing. What are the familiar sensations, what are the unfamiliar sensations. What do you feel when your press into your feet while reaching the top of your head up with an inhale? Be curious here and let your body and breath just be. Once you’re done exploring come back to your best posture and try these two Neck Tension Relieve practices. Each can be done on their own, or in unison. Do your best to move mindfully with your breath and simple take your time so your body can literally unwind.
Most importantly use these moves at the first signs of tension. Do not let stress tension linger, because it will translate into pain that can become chronic pain. If you’re not careful you can teach your body how to respond stress with pain…. it does’t have to be! Access what you need and be proactive with movement and breath.
Enjoy these practices and please let me know how it goes, because I want to hear from you! Remember keep moving and be well!