We all know the pleasant feeling when we feel a surge of energy: the world becomes more colorful and happier, and we are ready to move mountains. But in order for this energy to appear, we need to remove the physical, emotional and mental blocks that prevent it from flowing freely. By freeing ourselves from blocks of one type, we influence the flow of energy of our other components, giving more vitality and space to life force.
We already talked about some exercises of “office yoga” in the previous issue of our magazine. Today we will deal with the neck; in fact its narrow canal that connects the head with the body often becomes a plug that stops free flow of energy and blood.
You can see an increasing number of people with slouching shoulders and neck stretched forward. This posture is called “computer” or “text.” Doctors sound the alarm, as the “textual” neck syndrome becomes an epidemic that is dangerous to everyone – from young to old.
What usually happens when we sit at a computer or send texts by phone? – We hunch, push the head and shoulders forward, pulling the neck. The medial muscles of the back weaken, and the entire pressure is on the cervical spine, this position changes the correct weight distribution.
Do you know how much an average human head weighs? It weighs about 5 kilograms.
In 2014, an American spinal surgeon, Dr. Kenneth Hansraj, found that in accordance with the physical laws regarding the angle of application of force and lever, the weight of our head is:
– at an angle of 15 degrees about 12 kg,
– at an angle of 30 degrees – 18 kg,
– at an angle of 45 degrees – 22 kg, and at 60 degrees – about 27 kg.
With such a weight, shoulders, head and neck inevitably move forward! Cervical vertebrae are deformed; the discs are displaced, causing pain and stiffness of the neck muscles, shoulder joints and upper back. It also causes headaches and occipital pains, vision problems, blood pressure problems, vertebrae wear down, hernia of the vertebral discs develops, and movements of the shoulder joints become limited.
This position of the neck pinches nerves and blood vessels, which, in turn, causes a lack of nutrition of the brain, and in fact mental processes require a very large blood flow. Experts also say that such posture can reduce lung volume by as much as 30%!
What to do?
In order to get rid of the “computer neck”, you need to follow two procedures.
First is to organize the workplace correctly: the monitor should not be too low, and at the same time it should not stand straight towards the user. The back should be located approximately at an angle of 100-135 degrees to the legs, shoulders should be as relaxed as possible.
Second is regular workout (at least for 1-3 minutes every half hour), which includes exercises for the neck, shoulders and back.
So, let’s begin.
- Circular shoulder motions. This exercise can be done while sitting or standing. It will help you to work out shoulder joints, relax your neck and remove muscles stiffness of the chest and middle back.
Sit up straight, back straight, shoulders relaxed. Put your palms on your shoulders and inhale, slightly lifting your head, slowly bring your elbows closer to each other, push them together and pull them apart while lifting them up and to the sides.
At the highest point, begin to exhale, gradually lowering your elbows to the ribs and chin to your chest. Repeat 4-6 times.
- Beacon. This effective exercise is from Somatic Yoga.
Sit up straight, shoulders relaxed, feet shoulder-width apart. Place your left hand on the left thigh, palm down. Place your right hand on your left shoulder. Inhale. On the exhale, slowly turn the torso and head to the left. Inhale and exhale, without changing the position of the body, turn the head to the right.
Inhale and as you exhale squeeze the left shoulder blade towards the spine, activating the muscles around it. Inhale and exhale in this position. On the next inhale, put your right hand on your right thigh and exhale while relaxing. Take two regular breaths and repeat the exercise in the opposite direction. Repeat 2 times for each side.
- Dropping the chin to the chest. Sit up straight, back straight, shoulders relaxed, feet shoulder-width apart. The left hand is palm down on the left thigh; the right index finger is on the chin. Inhale and stretch your neck forward. As you exhale, push your chin back and down with your right index finger, pressing it against your chest. Feel how the back of the neck stretched. Repeat slowly 4-6 times.
Exercise quietly and consciously. Let these exercises connect you with your inner peace and freedom.
That’s how due to these moments of relaxation in the midst of hectic life and work day, our inner space expands, our inner strength grows, we feel better and it allows us to lead our life boat more skillfully and wisely.
In the next issue, we will continue to introduce “office yoga” to you and we will describe several very effective exercises for the neck and shoulders.
Olga Danilevich, Certified teacher of therapeutic yoga and yoga nidra (E-RYT-500), the author of a unique teaching method “Open Heart Yoga”