I teach a lot of Corporate Yoga, so, it's fairly common for me to have students who complain about neck pain and tight, tense shoulders. Long hours in front of a desk invite the shoulders to creep up towards the ears in no time, with stress from our minds yanking them up even faster! Office workers certainly aren't the only people with this concern.
We live in a "forward-rounded society": We get up in the morning and check our phones, drive to work, sit at a desk, drive home from work, sit on the couch, lie down in bed, repeat, repeat, repeat. This isn’t every person’s typical day, but too often, it is.
Whether it's from surfing the Internet, watching TV, or tapping away on smartphones doesn't matter. But the impact, and the cascading physical consequences that come with it, does.
Chronically tight and contracted pectoral muscles and chronically weakened, “locked-long,” neck, mid-back, and rear deltoid (shoulder) muscles contribute to headaches, backaches, and a stiff neck—and that's just the immediate effect.
Prevent Hunchback at Any Age
Kyphosis is the technical term for what you might recognize as a “hunchback position” and derives from the Greek word, meaning “a hump.” It refers to an excessively forward rounded mid- to upper back. Most people think this is a natural process of getting older — this is absolutely not true!
While in some cases the malformation is due to osteoporosis, in many other cases, it is a postural habit that can be prevented and even reversed, or at the very least, improved.
7 Surprising Reasons Poor Posture is Bad for Your Health:
Poor posture inhibits deep breathing. Deep breathing calms the mind and brings feelings of health and well-being.
Deep breathing increases energy; shallow breathing literally drain a person.
The inability to “sit tall” profoundly affects one’s mood and perspective. Try for yourself and see: Right now, shift your posture to sit tall, chest lifting, shoulders down. Do you notice the immediate impact on your mood?
Feelings of self-worth and self-confidence can be compromised by a posture that means always looking down at the floor.
Shallow breathing creates more tension in the neck and shoulders, contributing to the problem.
Muscle imbalances can lead to chronic pain and discomfort, in addition to compromised strength and balance.
Compressed internal organs inhibits optimal circulation and digestion.
Students of all ages, including my 55 + / Seniors, appreciate the freedom of feeling and mobility that a postural sequence, such as the one above, has to offer.
The first several postures of the sequence featured here will offer some relief from any built-up stress or tension in the region, but more importantly, the spinal extensions will help to strengthen the upper back and shoulders to maintain the lengthening work that you’ve done.
Close with some gentle spinal twists to stretch the intercostal muscles between the ribs (their elasticity contributes to deeper breathing capacity) and, as always, a final relaxation to integrate and absorb the multidimensional benefits of your practice.
Practice online with me today, or go here for a local class schedule! You will also find many more downloadable sequences on the home page. I hope you enjoy!