We sure do love our gadgets!
They’ve transformed our lives and created an incredible fast paced interconnected world. But they’re also changing our bodies — and not for the better.
Most of us would be shocked to learn just how much time we spend behind a computer, or staring at a tablet or smartphone.
Sure, modern conveniences are great. But this hunched over posture is taking a toll on your neck, shoulders and back.
Chronic pain, tension headaches, reduced range of motion in the shoulders and mid/upper back are just a few of the problems linked to that time spent with technology. In addition, all the nerves of your limbs and organs pass through your neck, which accumulates even more tension in the neck and shoulder muscles.
And as if this discomfort and bodily stress hasn’t wreaked enough havoc on your neck and shoulders, the time you spend strength training without including some form of complementary flexibility cool down is only helping to bring you to your “aching” point.
So what can you do about it?
If quitting your job, closing down your Facebook page or giving up your dreams of being “huge” is not an option, then maybe you should try a little yoga.
The following poses and movements focus primarily on increasing flexibility and strength in your neck, shoulders, chest and back.
Step away from your computer — or put down your tablet / smart phone / google glasses / etc. — and give these a try:
Ear to Shoulder Movement
- This can be done from a seated or standing position
- Relax down through your shoulders and arms.
- Inhale with your head in center or neutral position.
- On the exhalation, gently tip your head to the side, keeping your ear over your shoulder.
- Shoulder should remain relaxed and still, with your ear moving toward your shoulder. Take care not to strain.
- Inhale back to the center and repeat on the other side.
- Repeat 5-10 times on both sides.
Benefits: Releases tension and stiffness in neck and shoulder region.
Double Angle Pose (Dwikonasana)
- Begin standing upright with feet together and arms at your sides.
- Take your arms behind your body, clasping the fingers together.* Your hands should rest on your buttocks. This is the starting position.
- On an inhalation, lengthen your spine and lift your hands off your buttocks as far as possible.
- On the exhalation, bend from the hips, keeping your back straight and working toward a 90 degree angle if possible.
- Your arms should also be at a 90 degree angle. This is the final position.
- On an inhalation, raise your torso upward, keeping your back straight.
- Exhale your arms down toward your buttocks and release your hands to the side.
- Repeat 5-10 times.
* Note: A towel or sock may be used to create space between your shoulder blades.
Benefit: Strengthens the muscles of the upper back and between the shoulder blades. This movement also releases the neck, opens the chests and stretches the hamstrings.
Snake Pose (Sarpasana)
- Begin lying face down.
- Place your palms flat on the mat below but slightly to the outside of your shoulders. Your big toes should be pointing toward one another, and touching if possible.
- Clasp your hands behind your back and rest them on your buttocks.
- On an inhalation, simultaneously press the tops of your feet downward while rolling your shoulders back and down. Lift your chest of the mat as far as possible, pausing at the top of the movement.
- On an exhalation, slowly release, lowering back down to the mat.
- Repeat 5-10 times.
* Note: If clasping your hands is difficult, a belt or even a sock can be held instead to create more space between your shoulders.
Benefits: Helps to improve posture by reducing slumped or rounded shoulders. This movement increases strength and flexibility throughout the entire back, and can help to deepen your breathing by improving flexibility in the chest and shoulders.
This pose is NOT recommended if you suffer from high blood pressure, peptic ulcer, hernia, or hyperthyroidism.
Your body is deeply interconnected. The time you spend on improving the flexibility and strength of one area, such as the shoulders, can have positive consequences in multiple other areas — inside and out.
Add these simple yoga movements to your day. And don’t be surprised if your headaches go away, your breath capacity increases, and you see an improvement in your posture and overall energy levels.
Just goes to show you that a little yoga can go a long way when it comes to reducing your bodily burdens.
When you’re ready, here’s my full body yoga routine.
It’s great for both fat loss and turning back the clock on aches pains stress and stiffness!