I have been working in the fitness industry now for almost eight (gasp) years. In that time, I have written several workouts, stretches, mindfulness articles, and everything in-between. It is one of my favorite things to do. I cherish the opportunity to learn about self-care, read studies on how workouts impact my entire life and utilize my research in my day-to-day life. One thing I have studied intently is stretching.
Restorative Stretches Are Kinda My Thing
I adore yoga, especially Yin. A good restorative session that allows me to rest into a stretch and release tension in my muscles is exactly what I need after a long day of work. After sitting for several hours, it is extra-scrumptious to stretch out your hips. But, in the middle of the day, your neck will appreciate a little TLC.
I am not a trainer, instructor, yoga teacher, or anything else. This is just something I like to do mid-day for me. Consult a professional before giving this little stretch a try.
Start With The Shoulders
Because we hunch at our desks, our shoulders get very tight, creating poor posture. But, there is a simple stretch to release that tension.
First, hold your hands straight out in front of you at shoulder height. Then, cross your right arm over your left. Bend your arms 90-degrees, keeping them at shoulder height and try to wrap your left hand around to sit on your right palm (your arms should look a bit like a swan). If you can’t quite twist that hand around, just hug your shoulders on the opposite sides. Your right hand resting on your left shoulder, and your left hand resting on your right. Then, tilt your head to the left, holding and breathing into the stretch. Do not force your neck into a stretch, rather, tilt it very gently, being kind to your neck. Then, after 10 seconds, switch to tilting your head the other way for 10 seconds (or more—do what feels right). Swap your arms, and repeat.
Then, Send Love To Your Neck
Next is a series of my all-time-favorite neck stretches. They are very, very gentle, and make a world of difference for my neck’s mobility, all with the use of your palms.
First, take your hand and place the palm in the center of your forehead. Then, gently push forward with your forehead, and back with your hand, creating resistance with both your head and arm. Continue gently pressing (and breathing deeply) until you feel like the back of your neck has been stretched.
Next, interlace your fingers and place them on the back of your head, near the upper part of your neck. Push your head back gently while pulling your hands forward with gentle resistance. Continue until you feel like stopping.
Now, place your right palm on the right side of your head, push your head towards your palm, and your palm towards the left (are you seeing the pattern here?). You can play with your hand placement by trying your hand on the right side of your forehead or near the back of your head and feeling for what your neck needs. When you feel like you had a beautiful stretch, switch sides.
Stretch At Your Desk
The best part about this stretch is you can do it right at your desk during a mid-day break. This stretch should help you feel less tension in your shoulders and neck and make you feel confident in bettering your posture. Working from home and keeping self-care in mind is difficult, and I hope to start to bring some of what I have learned to the forefront of our content here.
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