In our hurried, high-stress world–where many people hunch over computers and smart phones–neck and back pain are extremely common. In this blog post I have included a video of a gentle yoga sequence that is designed to help relieve pain by stretching tight muscles, strengthening weak ones, and enhancing relaxation.
Please be aware that the yogic approach is very different from the Western exercise mentality of striving and pushing. Instead, yoga is about balancing effort and relaxation—so don’t be lazy, but don’t be pushy either.
As you practice, remember these yogic ABCs:
Keep your mind present in your body, focused on your breath and your experience in the present moment—with an attitude of kindness and non-judgment.
Be sure your breath is flowing easily and comfortably. If you find that you’re holding your breath or that your breath is compromised in any way, it may be a sign that you’re straining. So back off the posture until you’re in a position where you can breathe easily.
The ancient texts on yoga say that a posture should be “steady and comfortable.” So take each movement to a point where you feel challenge, but not strain.
Not every pose is appropriate for every person. Feel free to modify the practice to suit your needs. If you have medical issues, get guidance from your health care provider about specific movement precautions. Practice daily for best results.
Join us at Duke Integrative Medicine for the upcoming Healing Yoga for Back and Neck Pain course. This six-week series of classes are designed to relieve pain in your back and neck, and provide strategies to enhance your overall health. Each 90-minute class includes a 30-minute educational component, plus a 60-minute yoga practice. Last day to register is March 8th, so click here to learn more and register!
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