fitness · yoga

Head, neck, shoulders: better care of them though yoga

Last Sunday, my friend Norah and I did a 2-hour workshop on yoga designed to help ease tension in head, neck and shoulders.

This is exactly what I need. All the time. Every day. Well, if didn’t have to go to work. In which case, I might be significantly less tense. But I’d want to do the workshop anyway because it felt so good.

Who else feels this way?

Yeah, I thought so. Everyone’s raising their hand. Thanks Gpointstudio for the pic.

First off, we did two variations on savasana, corpse pose. There were loads of props to make us optimally relaxed, including sand bags placed on our hands. In these images, sandbags were used on the elbows and shoulders, which I’ve experienced. It feels even better– like your entire upper body is able to relax into the best position possible. Counterintuitive, I know. But what can I say? It worked.

Standing, we did some shoulder stretches against the wall. They were intense (read sort of painful, but in a stretchy, not ouchy way) but had effects on my shoulders, arms and hands, too.

One of my favorite poses was a very prop-intensive but extremely relaxing extended bridge pose.

Using a bolster, blankets, blocks, towel under head, one can achieve peace.

We did a lot more poses and variations, many of which were subtle but (for me) had palpable easing of the tension in my neck and shoulders while doing various lower-body yoga stretches. I’m ordering the book on which this workshop is based, by Iyengar Yoga teacher Lois Stenberg. It’s called Iyengar Yoga Asana Alternatives: The Neck and Shoulders. Many of these poses can be done, unaided, at home. And when I do them, especially the standing hand stretches, they help undo some of the computer-induced crampiness I get (I think you know what I mean).

Have any of you tried some of these? What do you do for your head, neck, shoulders? I’d love to hear from you,