Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Protecting your neck in standing poses

In Triangle pose you will often here me say 'if you have no problems with your neck, you may turn to look up at your top thumb'.  The neck is the most mobile part of the spine and it is therefore easy to strain your neck so if you do turn to look up at thumb turn slowly and if you do feel any strain, alternatives would be to look straight ahead or down at your big toe.  

Be aware also that if you do turn to look up at your thumb, your balance may be affected. Also make sure there is plenty of space for the neck by drawing your shoulders away from your ears.  

Similarly with Side Angle Pose, you can turn to look up at your top hand if you feel comfortable with turning your head or keep your gaze straight ahead. Draw your shoulders away from your ears. With Half Moon balance, turning your head makes balancing much more difficult so be extra careful.

In Warrior 2 turn your head slowly, making sure your shoulders are away from your ears. Warrior 1 can be a little more tricky.  The pose is often practiced with the hands together over the head which can draw the shoulders up by the ears and compress the neck.  You could try taking your shoulder blades back and down but I find the simplest way is to practice the pose with the hands at shoulder width.  

Special care is needed with Revolved Triangle, Revolved Side Angle and Revolved Half Moon balance. My advice in these poses would be to keep your chin in line with your breast bone until you are flexible enough to have a good twist first in the abdomen, then through the ribcage and the shoulders.  Only then, if you have no neck issues and feel balanced, move your head slowly to look up, noticing how your head feels as you move.  

(see gallery for photos of standing poses)

Please see also, 'Protecting your neck in seated twists'-

Janet x

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