Do you spend hours in a fixed position, slouched in front of a computer, spine rounded, neck sticking out like a turtle craned towards your screen, wrists and jaw tensed without you even realizing it? Do you complain of constant stiffness in the neck and upper back? I often find that these are the main culprits for clients that come in to the clinic for neck and shoulder tension and pain which can lead to temporal and/or occipital headaches. In Chinese medicine perspective, aches, pain and tension is related to Qi and Blood Stagnation in meridians. In thes case of the "Tech Neck" meridians that are affected are the Bladder, Gallbladder, Large Intestine and Small Intestine channels. Qi and Blood stagnation can also be exacerbated by stress, lack of exercise, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Here are a few simple yet effective yoga sequence designed by Angeline to ease tension in the neck and shoulders, and relief compression in the front body, whilst stretching out those tight knots, to enable more range of motion, and hopefully help to minimise the occurrence of headaches. She highly recommend doing the Tech Neck series at least once a day.
- Extended Puppy Pose - a delicious and deep chest & upper back opener. Modify by placing your forehead on the floor, instead of the chin, and let gravity assist your chest to sink to the floor.
- Shoelace Pose for the Arms - stretches the deep muscles between the shoulder blades (#rhomboids), posterior and lateral deltoids and upper arms.
- Intense Shoulder Stretch - one of my fave stretches to target the front muscles of the upper arms. By squaring the hips, you'll also get a nice upper back twist. Do support your head so that you don't end up straining the neck.
- Gomukhasana (Cow Pose arms) - works on increasing range of motion in the shoulders, as the top arm is externally rotated, and the bottom arm is internally rotated. Remember to switch sides, and use a towel or strap if you can't bind.
- Supported Chest Opener - one word : "Yummy"! Seriously, I can fall asleep in this pose, as it helps to deepen and regulate the breathing too. Block is placed at the bottom tips of your shoulderblade .
- Trigger Point Therapy for the Neck : Very gently turn the neck side to side, to self-massage the tightness in the neck.
- Trigger Point Therapy for the Arms : tension in the neck travels down the arms too, causing limited mobility. Here, I use lacrosse balls, but you can use tennis balls too. Target the front of the shoulders and #pectoral muscles (avoid the collar bones), and slowly move down the upper arm.
Remember to relax, and breathe deeply to allow your body to receive maximum benefit from the practice. (*Avoid lying on your belly if you're pregnant, and consult your teacher for alternatives), and if symptoms persist please seek professional help to remedy your condition.