Modern technology gives us countless benefits - it’s an ever-growing source of information and inspiration and helps us stay connected to our loved ones. However, the downside to this is that we are spending an increased amount of time hunched over our devices and it can cause neck and shoulder strain. Moving in ways that realign our postures helps us release that tension and promotes more functional movement patterns. Here are some easy neck and shoulder stretches you can do from the comfort of your own home or bed (errrrr Bed Yoga - can I get a hell yeah!).
1. Neck Release
Come to a comfortable seated position. Tilt the head to the right - right ear moves towards the right shoulder. Pick up your right hand and place it on the left side of the face - applying gentle pressure so that you feel the stretch throughout the left side of the neck. Option to lift and lengthen the left arm out to deepen the stretch. Soften the shoulders away from the ears and relax the jaw. Take 5 deep breaths here. Repeat on opposite side.
2. Eagle Arms
Come to comfortable seated position. Bring the arms to a cactus position either side of the body.
Cross the right elbow over the left and take hold of shoulders (option 1), bring the back of the arms and the hands together (option 2) or cross the right hand over the left to come to full eagle arms (option 3). Soften the shoulders away from the ears and relax the jaw. Take 5 deep breaths. Repeat on opposite side.
3. Cow Face Arms
Lengthen arms overhead. Bend the right arm and bring the palm of the right hand to rest in between the shoulder blades. Take a hold of the right elbow with the left hand and apply gentle pressure so you feel the stretch in the right armpit and shoulder (option 1), sweep the left arm around and place it on the back, taking a hold of clothes (option 2) or bind the hands together if accessible (option 3). Take 5 deep breaths. Repeat on opposite side.
4. Shoulder Rotations
Inhale as you circle the shoulders forward and up towards the ears. Exhale to circle the shoulders back and drop them away from the ears. Take 5 more of these shoulder rolls moving as slow and steady as possible. Option to change the direction of the rotation for a further 5 deep breaths.
5. Seated Cat-Cow
Interlace fingers and bring them to rest behind the head so that the hands are cradling the back of the head. As you inhale, elbows move away from each other as chest comes forwards and gently tilt the head back. Exhale - the elbows move towards each other as you drop the chin towards the chest and round through the upper back. Repeat 5-10 times marrying the movement to the breath. Go as slow and as steady as possible so that the movement ripples through the spine on each in and out breath.
As always, stay safe in your practice and do not attempt any stretches that bring any pain or discomfort to the body. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. Enjoy yogis!