In a day and age where there do not seem to be enough hours in a day, physical and mental health have been moved to the back burner or completely ignored. The constant screen watching, be it on office desks or even the beds has made Cervical pain one of the most common pain disorders.
The causes of neck pain are many with the underlying issues only prominent in adults. Sedentary or incorrect postures while working or sleeping can also lead to stiffness in the neck or headaches.
Why One Must Turn To Yoga Asanas To Alleviate Pain?
Taking a pill every time a minor inconvenience occurs has become a default behaviour for many. Stocked up medicine cabinets and knowing the names of over-the-counter drugs by rote is quite the common sight in many households. One must be aware that continuous or extensive use of such drugs can result in side effects such as irreversible organ damage.
As an alternative, one must inculcate the habit of exercising daily, especially if one leads a sedentary life at office desks and such. Yoga Asanas, along with a few preventive measures greatly benefit the mind and body, keeping one healthy in the long run.
Here are seven different Yoga Asanas that can be practised daily to relieve yourself from cervical pain.
#1 Balasana or The Child Pose
Balasana or the child pose is a Yoga Asana that allows the back muscles to relax and calms the nervous system. It is a relatively easy pose that stretches the muscles of the arms and relieves one from stress.
How To Do Balasana?
- Kneel on the Yoga mat or on the ground keeping your legs close to each other and your soles facing the ceiling.
- Using your arms for support, sit back into the space created by your feet and ankles and settle in.
- Raise your arms above your head and lean forward until your chest is pressed onto your thighs and your arms are outstretched in front of you.
- Hold the position for a few minutes, ensuring that you are taking in deep breaths.
- Slowly rise up and sit back on your heels and relax your muscles.
Safety And Precautions: This Asana is not recommended for those that have serious knee or back injuries. Those that are recovering from diarrhoea or have diarrhoea must refrain from performing this exercise. This Asana is not advisable for pregnant women. Ensure that you are practising and learning Yoga under the supervision of a certified Yogic practitioner, instructor or teacher.
Bhujangasana or The Cobra Pose
Bhujangasana is an Asana that is a part of the Surya Namaskara sequence. This Asana relaxes and opens the muscles of the back and the neck. It strengthens the shoulders and the back and improves flexibility of the upper back area and the middle back area. It also improves blood circulation and relieves one of stress and fatigue.
How To Do Bhujangasana?
- Lie stomach-down on the floor or the yoga mat and ensure that the soles of your feet are facing the ceiling.
- Rest your forehead on the mat and keep your legs close to each other and your feet and heels slightly touching each other.
- Keep your palms on the ground below your shoulders and your elbows parallel to your torso.
- Take in a deep breath and lift your head, chest, and abdomen off of the floor, keeping your navel as close to the ground as possible.
- Ensure that you are equally distributing your weight on both arms.
- Arch your back inwards, tilt your head back and lookup.
- Ensure that your shoulders are not strained. It takes practice to keep your elbows straight so do not overwork or strain yourself.
- Hold yourself in this position for a few minutes and slowly bring yourself back to the mat.
Safety And Precautions: This pose is not recommended for pregnant women and those with fractured wrists or ribs and those that are recovering from abdominal surgery. It is also not recommended for those that suffer from Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. Ensure that you are practising and learning Yoga under the supervision of a certified Yogic practitioner, instructor, or teacher.
#3. Natarajasana or The Reclining Twist Pose
Natarajasana or the Reclining twist pose is a great Yoga Asana to improve one’s posture. It also helps to stretch the muscles, relieve one of stress and even calm the mind.
How To Do Natarajasana:
- Lie on your back with your arms stretched out horizontally on either side of your body.
- Bend both your knees and bring them closer to your hips with the soles flush against the ground.
- Swing your knees to your left until the left knee is in contact with the ground.
- Turn your head to your right and keep your eyes on your right palm that is outstretched in front of you.
- Focus on your breathing and observe the stretched muscles in the body. Relax.
- Repeat the exercise on the other side of your body with your right knee in contact with the floor and head turned to look at your left palm.
Safety And Precautions: This Yoga Asana is not recommended or advisable for pregnant women. Ensure that you are practising and learning Yoga under the supervision of a certified Yogic practitioner, instructor, or teacher.
#4. Utthita Trikonasana or the Extended Triangle pose
Utthita Trikonasana or the Extended Triangle pose is extremely useful to stretch the spine. It is known to reduce stress and provide relief from mild backache.
How To Do Utthita Trikonasana?
- Stand on the ground or on the yoga mat with your legs as wide apart as possible.
- Straighten your back and extend your arms horizontally on either side of your body.
- Bend your body to your right and touch your right ankle with your right hand.
- Stretch your left hand upwards and tilt your head to look at it.
- Remain in this position and take a few deep breaths.
- Slowly return to the standing position and repeat the exercise on the other side of your body.
Safety And Precautions: Those that have a headache, an existing heart condition, low blood pressure and diarrhoea must avoid performing the exercise. Ensure that you are practising and learning Yoga under the supervision of a certified Yogic practitioner, instructor, or teacher.
#5. Matsyasana or The Fish Pose
Matsyasana or the Fish pose stretches out the neck and the chest. It is also extremely useful in relieving tension and stress in the neck and the shoulders.
How To Do Matsyasana?
- Lie on your back with your feet together and your hands relaxed on either side of your body.
- Bring your hands underneath your hips and keep your palms facing down and bring your elbows closer towards each other.
- Take in a deep breath and lift your head and chest off the ground.
- Retain the position of your chest and tilt your head backwards in such a way that the top of your head is in contact with the ground.
- Ensure that your weight is resting on your elbows and not on the head.
- Lift your chest up and press your thighs and legs against the ground.
- Retain this pose for as long as you are comfortable and relax with each deep inhalation and exhalation.
- Slowly lift your head and bring your chest and head back to the ground while allowing your arms to rest at your sides.
- Breathe in. Breathe out. Relax.
Safety And Precautions: Those with high or low blood pressure must refrain themselves from performing this exercise. It is also not recommended for those that suffer from migraine and insomnia. This pose is also not advisable for those that have severe neck and lower back injuries. Ensure that you are practising and learning Yoga under the supervision of a certified Yogic practitioner, instructor, or teacher.
#6. Dhanurasana or The Bow pose
Dhanurasana or the Bow pose is known to strengthen and add flexibility to the back. It opens up and relaxes the muscles of the neck, the shoulders and the chest.
How To Do Dhanurasana?
- Lie stomach side down with your feet hip-width apart from each other. Rest your arms at your sides.
- Bring your hands behind you and bend your knees to get a hold of your ankles.
- Take in a deep breath and lift your chest off the ground while simultaneously pulling your feet back up.
- Look straight ahead and continue your deep breaths.
- Retain this pose for about 20 seconds or as long as you are comfortable.
- Gently bring your legs and chest to the ground while exhaling and release your ankles.
- Relax your muscles.
Safety And Precautions: This pose is not recommended for those that have high or low blood pressure, hernia, neck injuries, lower back pain, headaches, migraine, recovering from abdominal surgery and pregnant women. Ensure that you are practising and learning Yoga under the supervision of a certified Yogic practitioner, instructor, or teacher.
#7. Savasana or The Corpse Pose (Resting)
Savasana is one of the easiest of Yogic poses to get into. It is a resting pose and is quite easy to practice at home after work or post exercising. Savasana brings awareness to all parts of the body followed by a simple relaxation step that leaves the body feeling free and well-rested.
How To Do Savasana?
- Lie down flat on your back and close your eyes.
- Get comfortable and space your legs a comfortable distance from each other.
- Place your arms on either side of your body with your palms facing upwards.
- Slowly bring your awareness starting with your legs. Start with one leg and bring awareness to your toes, feet, calves, knees, and thighs. Repeat the same for the other leg. If you feel like you are contracting any muscles, relax them and slowly bring awareness upwards. The back, the abdomen, the chest, the shoulders, and the neck. Relax your muscles as you breathe.
- Focus on taking deep breaths and allow yourself to breathe naturally and gently over time.
- After 10-20 minutes, gently roll over to your right and remain in this position for about a minute.
- Support yourself on your right hand and gently sit up, keeping your eyes closed.
- Continue taking a few more deep breaths.
- Once you feel well relaxed, gently open your eyes.
Safety And Precautions: Ensure that you are practising and learning Yoga under the supervision of a certified Yogic practitioner, instructor, or teacher.
Additional Precautionary Measures For Neck Pain
Avoid lifting heavy objects if you are susceptible to neck pain or do so with your knees bent so that you do not strain or pull a muscle.
Take breaks from your work desk or workstation to perform simple neck rotating exercises to relax your taut neck muscles.
Exercise carefully and under the supervision of an experienced and certified instructor.
Eat healthy and nutritious food to keep your bones and muscles strong.
Try to change aspects of your sedentary lifestyle and include exercising and stress-busting activities in your daily routine.
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