Sometimes the most simple poses can achieve profound results. Relaxing the Neck has helped me a lot in my long journey of unwinding the complex and longstanding knots in my neck, jaw and shoulders. Forrest Yoga is unusual in teaching students to have a relaxed neck at all opportunities - it’s just so necessary for healing the body of a modern human who drives, types and texts! Hope it works for you as well as it does for me. Happy 13th all!
Do each pose for five to eight breaths (or five to eight breaths on each side, if it’s asymmetrical). Do five to eight rounds of abs.
Never stretch into pain. Take care of your body. If you’re pregnant then skip the abs exercise and don’t do anything that doesn’t feel right.
Take three deep breaths, focussing on the sensation of breathing.
Gentle stretch: Relaxing the Neck
How to do it: Sitting or standing in any position which pleases you, take your focus into all the parts of you which are in contact with the floor. Ground down through those points so you can telescope your ribs and lift your heart. Relax your shoulders. Allow your left ear to drift towards your left shoulder, until the whole weight of your head is hanging. If this stretch is too much, then use your left hand to support your head in a comfortable stretch. Take five to eight breaths into the stretch, using your breath to rinse out any tension. Then cradle the head with the left hand and, keeping your neck completely relaxed, lift your head back to centre. Repeat on the right side.
Abs exercise: Abs with a Roll
Something zingy: Lunge with Back Traction
How to do it: Come into a long lunge with left foot forwards. Seek a pleasant opening stretch in the front of the right thigh and hip. Activate your front foot - lift toe tips up and spread toes wide apart. This protects your knee and ankle, and helps you to connect to your foot. Press both legs into the ground and use that power to help telescope your ribs up, lifting mid ribs from low ribs and upper ribs from mid ribs. Soften your shoulders down. For back traction, bring your hands to your hips, thumbs towards your spine. Press down with your hands and straighten your arms to make space along your spine. Tuck your tailbone down and lift your heart up. Neck neutral. After five to eight breaths, switch sides.
Final relaxation: Lie on your back in a warm place for at least a minute and let tension drain from your body.