Just this tiny little thing that connects our torso to our heads; totally insignificant. It's just our neck. Sometimes I think we forget we even have one at all. Until...you wake up one morning (for me it was the morning I was going to check out Rodney Yee's class of course) with the first stiff neck you can remember since you were a kid. HOLY &%$#! I have a neck! And it hurts!! I can't check my blind spot, move my left arm, look to see what that noise was behind me, check on my kid playing behind me, etc. The list goes on. I guess my neck IS important! After all if nothing else, necks hold up our heads which happen to weigh about as much as a bowling ball! Imagine holding a bowling ball in your hand all day without a break! Not so much. And then, as many of us tend to, we stand and sit with poor posture, holding our head just slightly in front of our neck. So now imagine holding that bowling ball, but not just balancing it in your hand. Instead, hold the bowling ball with your forearm leaning a bit forward and you will probably start to have to grip the ball with your fingers, fatiguing all the muscles in your arm, wrist, and hand. Translate that to the neck and its no wonder why so many of us have neck problems! There are a few places in our bodies where we hold the most tension and our necks are one of them. The resulting issues are endless and certainly NOT painless; headaches, shoulder aches, sinus problems, tingling in the fingers, etc. So many issues can lead back to the neck and poor alignment in our spines. Enter yoga. A great way to help re-align the body, specifically the neck with the rest of the spinal column. Here is one of my favorite stretches:
Sit in a comfortable seat and wiggle back and forth until both sitting bones come in contact with the earth. Sit with your spine long and the crown of your head reaching towards the sky. Walk your fingertips out to each side of your body on the floor, palms lifted. Gently bring your right ear to your right shoulder as you draw the heel (base of your palm where your hand meets wrist) of your left hand toward the floor. Keeping the left hand on the floor you can slide the hand a little closer toward your hip as you make sure to draw the left shoulder back. Relax your forehead, unclench your jaw and breathe into the stretch. Repeat on the other side and leave me a note with your thoughts!