Perfecting Your Yoga Poses
Yoga Poses to Reduce Neck Pain
It's no surprise that neck pain is a particularly common complaint. Many of us spend a significant portion of the day hunched over a digital screen, which can cause neck muscles to become tight. These yoga poses can help reduce neck pain.
Downward Facing Dog
Downward facing dog takes the pressure off your neck and shoulders and lengthens and decompresses your spine. Start the position on your hands and knees, making sure to keep your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Inhale, then lift your knees off the mat as you exhale. If you do the pose correctly, you will form an inverted "V" with your body.
The cow and cat poses relax and stretch your neck muscles. Start the cow pose on your hands and knees. Inhale, raise your sit bones, but let your belly drop. Look straight ahead when you perform the pose. Exhale and move into the cat pose. Perform this pose by arching your back and letting your head drop so that you are looking at the floor.
Are you getting the maximum benefit out of yoga? You may not be if you do not perform the poses properly. Keep these tips in mind the next time you unroll your yoga mat.
Hunching your shoulders can increase tension in your shoulders and neck. The habit is not only painful but can also affect your ability to perform yoga poses correctly. Before you begin a pose, make sure that your shoulders have not begun to creep up toward your ears.
It can be a little difficult to master yogic breathing when you first begin taking yoga classes. If you are like most people, you may hold your breath for a few seconds after you inhale, particularly when you perform more strenuous poses. Holding your breath creates tension and makes it more difficult to stretch and maintain poses. When you perform poses, focus on breathing in and out slowly without pausing.
Do Not Push Yourself
Pain is a warning sign from your body. If you ignore it, you increase your risk of an injury that can prevent you from practicing yoga for weeks. If a pose is painful, stop immediately and ask your instructor for suggestions or modifications that will help you perfect the pose safely and without pain.
Yoga props can help you master difficult poses. They provide the stability you need to perform complicated poses and make deep stretches easier. All of us have different capabilities, strengths and body types. Although others in your class may be able to perform poses without props, there is no shame in taking advantage of these aids to help you enjoy the full benefits of your yoga classes.
Keep Your Rear End Tucked
In many sports, pushing your rear end out is recommended because it helps you maintain your balance. Things are different in yoga. The position stresses your lower back and can lead to back pain. Tucking your backside will help you avoid problems and engage the muscles in your core.
When you are off-balance, it's impossible to perform poses correctly. If your weight is not equally distributed over both of your feet, you are at risk of a fall or other injury. Before you begin a pose, take a few seconds to make sure you are balanced correctly.
Keep Your Spine Straight
Most yoga poses require a straight spine. Although the cat or cow poses are exceptions, you must lengthen your spine to perform many poses correctly. As you perform poses, remember to keep your spine long and flat.
Look in the Mirror
If your yoga classroom has a mirror, check your form occasionally, as long as you can do so without disrupting the pose. Mirrors are also helpful when you perform poses at home. If a mirror is not available, make a video of yourself using your cell phone.
Ask for Help
Your instructor can offer advice and suggestions that will help you get the most out of your yoga practice. If you have trouble mastering a pose or are worried that your form is not correct, do not hesitate to ask for assistance.
Yoga classes offer the perfect way to master your technique in a friendly, supportive environment. If you have been considering taking classes, give us a call and we will help you find the perfect class for your needs.
Women’s Health: 3 Yoga Poses You’re Probably Doing Wrong, 3/13/14
Yoga.com: 5 Tips to Improve Your Pose Alignment
BestHealthMag: The 5 Most Common Yoga Injuries and How to Prevent Them
Yoga Journal: Poses for Your Neck
The Huffington Post: 12 Poses to Undo the Damage of Your Desk Job, 8/7/13