Updated: Feb 21, 2021
Check out my video Yoga for the Neck: Neck TLC if you are looking for stretches that can help reduce tension in the neck!
I look at this picture and cringe because I know that this habit will hurt my neck in the long run! This is because the average head weighs 10-12 pounds! In addition, when we do not align our head over our heart space, gravity starts to take over. We begin to poke out our chin further and our shoulders may start to round forward. The muscles in the back of our neck become over-stretched. This in turn causes the front neck muscles to tighten up. This can lead to pain and discomfort in the neck and our upper back body. YIKES!
In my opinion, the most important thing that we can do is become AWARE of these patterns created in our body. Once I became aware that I was looking down at my phone, I started to bring my phone up to eye level. However, the arms can get pretty tired after holding the phone for lengthy periods of time. So, this may not be sustainable if we are watching a video on our phone.
The following are some exercises and stretches that I do to support and strengthen my neck and upper back. After all, it is all connected!
The above picture provides an example of a chin poke, which can occur when we are using technology (e.g. phones, computers, watching TV, etc.). This puts a lot of pressure on my neck and upper back body!
Take a moment to compare/contrast the two pictures. What do you notice? This is an example of a chin tuck.
In my opinion, chin tucks are a game-changer! You can do this in a comfortable seat or standing. Place your index finger and middle finger on your chin, applying gentle pressure as you press into your chin. This action encourages your head to move back in space, aligning your head over your heart. This helps to lengthen through the back of the neck.
Hold this for 3-5 seconds and then relax. Repeat this action 3 times in one sitting and up to 3 times a day. This is such a great way to check in with your neck!
Side View of a Scapular Squeeze!
Back view of a Scapular Squeeze!
This exercise does wonders for opening the chest, counteracting the rounding that tends to occur when we look down at our phones.
Start off by looping your shoulders and hug your elbows in towards your side body. Move your shoulders and elbows back in space as you squeeze your shoulder blades closer together. You can imagine that you are pinching a pencil between your shoulder blades. This can help strengthen the back body.
Hold this for 3-5 seconds before relaxing. You can try this 3 times in a row and aim to do this exercise at least 3 times per day.
Gentle Neck Stretches:
This next stretch is really great for alleviating neck tension!
Drop your right ear to your right shoulder. Feel free to hang out here for at least 10 seconds. You can add to this by extending your left hand away from your body. Flex your hand. Pretend as if you are placing your hand on an imaginary surface. Stay here or you can move your hand from side-to-side or up and down.
Hold for at least 10 seconds and then switch to the other side. You can repeat this stretch 3 times a day.
I absolutely LOVE doing this movement to work out any kinks in my neck. I find that my neck becomes pretty stiff when I am on my phone or computer for a long period of time. Start off with some small circles and then gradually allow the circles to get larger. Reverse your circle at any point.
Repeat this movement at least 3 times a day to encourage some movement in the neck!
Lying Down Chin Tuck:
First, roll up a towel and place it right under the curve of your neck. Place the soles of your feet on the earth with your knees pointing up towards the sky. Tuck your chin in slightly (same action that we did during the first exercise). When you do this action, you end up pushing your head down towards the floor. Kind reminder to be gentle as you do this! :)
Try this 3 times, holding for 3-5 seconds each time and then relax. Feel free to repeat this 3 times per day.
I hope that you find these exercises and stretches useful!
Take it easy!
Lots of love,