We spend so much of our days at a computer or smartphone (heck, you and I are are guilty of it right now). Most of the time our head is down toward a contracted chest with the brow and facial muscles tensed.
Darwin described this general position to communicate low spirits, anxiety and dejection. The slouched shoulders and rounded spine create tense muscles and disc issues in the neck. Recent research shows that this kind of slouched position we are often in leads to an overall feeling of a lack of power that carries on throughout our day.
The muscles around your shoulders and neck have an important job -- they basically hold up a bowling ball all day! And if you put the laws of physics into the equation, the forward position of our head increases the lever arm (remember back to High School physics?), and can make it seem like that 11 pound bowling ball weighs over 50 pounds to the muscles and bones supporting it.
Here's some handy yoga for tech neck, so that you can relieve all that pressure:
Yoga Trick #1: Keep Your Head Up
Live your yoga by holding your body with awareness through the day and use it to prevent the pain and damage from happening in the first place. Place the computer or hold the phone up higher and only look down with your eyes instead of the whole head.
Align your head where it is supposed to be. Allow the head to stack over the shoulders and the shoulders to release down and back.
Yoga Trick #2: Move the Neck and Shoulders
Take breaks from staring at the screen and move. While you are at it, give your eyes a break by relaxing and closing them. Releasing around the eyes can help release all the other tight muscles in the area.
Try these exercises:
- Bring the chin back as if you are trying to make a double chin. Hold for a moment feeling the stretch in the back of your neck and release the head back to center.
- Look side to side slowly
- Go into Eagle Arms and roll the shoulders back a few times. Switch sides.
Yoga Trick #3: Tense and Release
When muscles are intentionally contracted for a few seconds and then relaxed, it affects your muscles on a cellular level. The process helps you realize the unconscious holding patterns you probably have, particularly when you respond to that stressful work email or a text from an ex.
Many of us overly contract the muscles of our shoulders and neck when under stress.
How to do it:
- Squeeze your shoulders up and pucker the lips and face as much as possible for a few seconds. Imagine you are wringing out all of the tension.
- Long sigh and let it all go. Feel a wave of relaxation wash over your face, neck, and shoulders.
- Repeat 3x total. After the last time, close your eyes and feel a deep sense of relaxation from the inside out.
Integrate these three tricks into day by taking mindful minute breaks when you feel the tech tension rising.
How do you alleviate tech neck? Share with us in the comments below!
Ready to get started with The Office Yoga Challenge? Sign up right here!