A sedentary lifestyle that involves sitting and staring at a screen for hours together with a neck stretched in front almost as if any more effort was going to make it pass right through the screen, is not the best practice for a happy, healthy, and flexible neck. Then what is?
Here is what you can do for a stronger, relaxed neck which is strained from working in front of the screens all day. Here is the sequence of Sukshma Yoga (light warm up asanas that bring sustainable relief) and other Yogasanas or Yoga postures as prescribed in the ancient Indian Vedic texts for a stronger neck and muscles in general.
These Asanas, apart from helping your neck stiffness, will also relax your mind, freeing you of the stress that has been sitting in your system. But, it is most important that each Yogasana is done while paying attention to the breath and the region or part of the body that is getting stretched in the process of doing the asana.
Once you finish with your Yoga session or for that matter any other work out, it is a good idea to give yourself a restful body massage using an herbal muscle release oil that seeps into your muscular tissues, lubricating and rejuvenating each muscle fiber in your body. It also releases the psychosomatic stress stored in your body. For example, the Shankara Muscle Release Oil, a unique blend of eastern herbal essences and actives from the west like sunflower, almond, sesame, aloe vera, castor, jojoba, sweet birch, lavender, cedarwood, frankincense, devils claw, boswellia among others, is widely being used by those who are into sports, Yoga or some form of workout that works up the muscle tissues of the body.
Sukshma Yoga Sequence
We begin with some light neck exercises or Sukshma Yoga before moving into the Yogasanas.
1) Neck Rotations
-Sit in Sukhasana (Easy or Comfortable Pose) or stand up while keeping your spine erect.
-As you take a deep breath in, look up and slowly as you breathe out, bring your chin to the chest.
– As you breathe in, rotate the neck clockwise in the Right direction, by taking your chin from chest all the way to the back and as you breathe out, bring your head and chin from behind, down to the to the chest in the original position.
NOTE: When you rotate your neck, do it very gently and slowly. As you do, pay good attention to each and every muscle in the neck, syncing the movement with your breath.
-Repeat the cycle clockwise and anti-clockwise, each side 5 times
-Bring your chin up and relax
2) Up And Down Neck Stretches
-Stretch the neck up, look up, drop your head back and then as you breathe out bring the neck back in the front slowly and feel the stretch at the back of your neck.
3) Side Neck Stretches
-Take a deep fuller breath in and as you breathe out, tilt your neck to the right side.
-Make sure the left side of the neck is stretching. As you breathe in come back to the center.
-As you breathe out, tilt it to the left side.
Be very gentle in your movement since neck muscles and nerves are very prone to injuries. Take your attention to the stretch and feel the stretch totally.
4) Shoulder Exercise
-As you breathe in, do them in a flow
-Lift your shoulders up,
-Squeeze your neck,
-Try to touch your ears with your shoulders,
-Breathe out through the mouth and Relax.
-Repeat this exercise 5 times
5) Sitting Body Twist
-Sit in Sukhasana with your head straight, and chin up.
-Twist your upper body to the right side.
-Take the right palm and place it on the floor all the way to the back of your body.
-Left palm is on your right knee. Stay there and look to your right side all the way back.
In this asana, you are twisting your neck to the right side too. Stay there for 3 long breaths.
-Slowly as you breathe in, come to the center and as you breathe out, twist to the other side.
-Breathe out and come back to the center
6) The Magic Of Backbends
There are two variations of Cobra poses or Bhujangasana that are extremely beneficial for the neck region, vertebral column and spine.
A) Low Cobra Pose (Ardha Bhujangasana)
-Lie down on your belly.
-Place your palms by the side of your shoulders, elbows close to the waste.
-Place your forearms on the floor.
-As you breathe in, lift your head up till your chest region. Do not lift your chest or stomach up.
-Stay there. Continue to breathe in and breathe out. Stay in this pose for three long deep breaths.
-Slowly breathe out and relax your body.
B)Twisting Cobra Pose
-As you breathe in, lift your head up, while both the palms are on the floor, and entire forearms are on the mat, by the side of your body.
-Now lift your neck up, till your chest region.
-And then as you breathe in and breathe out, twist your neck to the right side. Move your neck very gently, while paying all your attention to the twist.
-Breathe in to come to the center.
-As you breathe out, twist your neck to the left. Again, as you breathe in, come to the center and Relax.
Disclaimer: This article is only for informational purposes. It is strongly recommended that you learn and practice these Asanas under the guidance and supervision of a trained and certified Sri Sri Yoga faculty.