Lengthening the back of the neck can release neck tension and mild headaches…
There have been a couple tech heavy days for me as I revamped my webpage to accept online bookings and payments. And while this is exciting for me on a business level, my neck muscles are paying the price.
As I begin to daydream on releasing my own neck, I thought what better option to share with you. Time to walk away from the computer...or book... or whatever is causing the crick in your neck.
Get yourself a towel of decent size, or firm blanket
Roll it up tightly, burrito style, to approximately 12"+ length and 4 - 4 1/2" diameter
Find the base of the skull, below the occipital bones - this is where the 'roll' will be placed
Lie down on a firm surface, placing the roll below the occipital bones, lengthening the back of the neck away from the shoulders
Take the outer upper arms down to the floor, lifting the front of the armpits up away from the floor
Legs can remain bent or straighten them
Relax here, allowing the roll to support and lengthen the back of the neck. Don't jam the chin into the neck
Soften the face, allow the muscles between the ears and outer shoulders to soften
Chin is jamming into the neck - not every body is created equal, so maybe the roll you created is too much for your body proportions. You can either slightly unroll the support to reduce the diameter of the roll or you can find a slightly smaller/thinner towel or blanket and prepare it in the same manner.
Head is falling back - check in with the roll: is it firmly supporting the base of the skull, almost pulling the area away from the top of the shoulders? If you look at the last picture above, the ear is somewhat level; this allows the front and back of the neck to be equal and the brain to settle.
How it helps:
Supporting tight muscles - when you place a support under a muscle that is tight, filling the space so to speak, you give that tight muscle something to release into.
Returning to alignment - allowing the occipital bones to return to their place behind the line of neck vertebrae allows alignment to begin to return to the upper spine; which in turn allows the surrounding muscles to soften.
Stress - the same muscles that are affected by the head being forward, are affected by stress. This practice can help relieve neck tightness from stress.
Headache - when the muscles are tight at the base of the skull and down the neck, this can lead to headaches; help release the tightness to release the grip of a headache.
Creating a healthier body can be overwhelming...
Taking one moment at a time to relieve an ache or pain can make a goal more achievable, and worth your time.
Wishing you great health, Tanya
Tanya is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher based out of Abbotsford, BC Canada. She has been teaching since 2015, strictly online since March 2020. Tanya volunteers her time as a board member for the BKS Iyengar Yoga Association Vancouver. Her greatest joy is being able to help discover movement.