Easing Neck and Shoulder Pain
This month we’ll focus on easing physical tension in the body caused by mental and emotional stress. The neck muscles react strongly to stress and this tension can be further irritated by sitting and working at a computer or looking at your phone for a long period of time. We hold the weight of the world on our shoulders so if you’re feeling tight and tense in these areas, it’s to be expected.
Our natural instinct is to guard and protect ourselves during stressful events and times in our lives and we do this unconsciously by tightening the muscles in our neck and shoulders as a way to brace against trauma whether it is real or imagined.
So in this month’s sequence we will focus on lengthening and releasing the big muscles around the neck, shoulders and upper back in an attempt to dissolve some of the stress held in the body so we can allow the body relax.
We’ll also focus on the smaller neck muscles, being mindful of how we move the head and neck, noticing the effect a particular movement or placement of the head has on those smaller neck muscles. Releasing and stretching the neck muscles can have an immediate effect on our state of mind as blood and oxygen can flow more freely into the brain. Essentially it can help to quieten the mind and bring on a sense of well being.
POSE OF THE MONTH
Virabhasana II with Gaurdasna Arms – Warrior 2 with Eagle Arms
In Virabhasana II we can tap into our inner wisdom and strength. A true warrior is courageous and has crystal clear focus on every action that they perform. To really embody the qualities of a Warrior, tune into your inner strength, confidence and power as your practice the pose.
MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL BENEFITS
Calming to the mind
Increased strength and flexibility in shoulders and hips.
Lengthens and strengthens the spinal muscles.
Increases flexibility in the connective tissue of the shoulder, elbow and wrist joints.
Builds strength and endurance in the lower body
Stretches the inner thighs and groins
Tones leg muscles
Stimulates the abdominal organs bringing increased blood flow into the intestines, liver and stomach
Ease stiffness in lower back
CAUTIONS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS
Leg, knee, hip or shoulder injury
High Blood Pressure
HINTS AND TIPS
If it’s difficult to do Eagle Arms – wrap your arms around yourself as if you were giving yourself a hug. This way you will still receive the opening across the upper back.
If there is sensitivity in the front knee, check the it is lining up with toes and not falling in. If there is still discomfort in the knee don’t come as deep into the pose.
Right now the whole world is hurting and is in a state of emergency. We can use this experience to re-unite us as human beings and to feel a greater sense of connection and oneness as Planet Earth gets a chance to heal and recover. Can we use this time to to appreciate and honor Mother Earth so that when we get to the other side we will have heightened sense of appreciation, gratitude and awe for this beautiful planet that we live on. So even though this is undoubtedly a scary and uncertain time, I wonder would it be possible for us to use this time as an opportunity to focus on the positive things in our lives right now and more importantly can we learn and grow from this experience. That might be as simple as noticing the mind body connection, noticing how your body contracts and tightens when we listen to the news and then bringing our awareness to breathing into the belly and gently strectching the neck muscles to bring ease and calm back into the body and mind.
Due to the current situation. I have two live online classes, Wednesday Evening 7pm class and Friday Morning 10am class