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STRESS AND TENSION RELIEF : neck and shoulders

Holding tension in the neck and shoulders is very common, whether it is caused by sitting at a desk all day, carrying a heavy back pack or supporting a phone between your shoulder and ear or perhaps it is related to stress and anxiety. Stretching your neck muscles can help to diffuse stress held in the body, quieten the mind and give you a sense of well-being.

Taking 5-10 minutes a day to stretch the sides of the neck can make a massive difference. This simple stretch can even be done before you get out of bed in the morning.

Step 1.

Sit in Easy pose – Sukhasana – take a moment to feel grounded through your sit bones whilst sitting tall. Use a block to sit on if that feels more comfortable through the hips. Rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing up and let the elbows drop towards the floor - this will draw your shoulders down away from the ears.

Focus on breathing in and out through your nose, feeling the chest lift as you breathe in and drawing the tummy in towards the spine as you breathe out.

Step 2.

Tilt your head to the right side - lengthening the neck and bringing the ear towards the shoulders. Hold the stretch for 3-5 breaths. Return the head to the centre and repeat on the other side.

Step 3.

Tilt your head to the right side and take the right hand to the head - fingers can reach the left ear and gently press the head into the head for a few breaths and then use the hand to ease the head towards the right a little more. Apply gentle pressure - don't force anything. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Return the head to the centre and repeat on the other side.

ADVANCE - to deepen the stretch extend the opposite hand to the one on the head along the floor or wrap around the back as shown in the video

Easy pose with a shoulder stretch helps to calm and quieten the mind and the body. This pose gently stretches your neck and your shoulders helping to relieve stress. Deep breathing can help to reduce tension. Give it a go every day for a week, just five minutes a day and I'm confident you will notice a positive difference.

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