Did you know the neck & shoulder region is the #1 area where folks report aches, pains, and injuries to medical professionals? For many reasons most adults have some degree of slouching, compression, weakness, and imbalance in this area.
If the chest collapses and the shoulder blades lift, we hunch forward and the front upper spine gets compressed. This not only creates painfully tight and stiff neck muscles, but puts pressure on the heart and reduces space for the lungs and breath. Shallow breath takes a toll on the vital systems and leads to both drowsiness and anxiety. Computer work, driving, overthinking, restrictive clothes, fatigue, and not noticing repetitive stress patterns in the body can quickly contribute to this pattern.
BKS Iyengar famously said, “I don't know what came first, compression or depression!”
Emotions like sadness, heaviness, and grief contribute to this pattern as well. The intense times we are living in— with current events, generational trauma, climate change, to name just a few— cause many of us to “carry the weight of the world on our shoulders.”
Happily, yoga once again comes to the rescue! Passive chest opening can do wonders for neck pain and our mood. A key practice to get relief is to lie face-up over a wide, small rolled blanket or large bath towel positioned under your heart. Place a smaller roll under the neck to support the cervical curve and take a pillow under the head as needed. Rest there a few minutes or longer as you are able.
Here are 3 excellent Iyengar yoga moves you can do with a belt.
Watch this handy quick video to learn how. All 3 of these moves help to lift the sternum, broaden the collar bones, draw the shoulders back, and release the trapezius muscles downwards, so the lungs can expand and your heart can shine forth!
3 Simple Yoga Belt Tricks for Neck and Shoulder Relief
by Avery Kalapa