To know more check our events Page.
Gary Kraftsow’s Viniyoga therapy helps you relieve stress and tension in the neck, shoulders and back and shows you how to adapt poses for healing.
Modern technology offers countless benefits—it’s an ever-growing source of information and inspiration; it keeps us easily connected to our loved ones. But the fact remains, many of us spend hours sitting in front of our computers and hunched over our mobile phones and tablets, and the repetitive movement patterns these digital devices demand can cause neck and shoulder strain. Learning to move in ways that realign our posture helps release that tension and promotes more functional movement patterns.
1. Coordinate your breath to the movement. The breath should be a medium to help you create and feel the movement in your spine. This aids neuromuscular reeducation, which enables you to transform dysfunctional movement patterns.
2. Be sure the postures serve you, the practitioner. Rather than master these postures, your goal is to use them as a tool to gain a deeper understanding of what is going on in your body, and then adapt them to create functional change for the better. These poses have value only if they serve you as you’re practicing.
FROM 1ST-10TH OF THE MONTH
We follow the Joint freedom series followed by Yin Yoga 16 poses.
- REGULAR YOGI
FROM 11th to 20th OF THE MONTH
We follow the wall support and block support, foam roller supported, yoga belt supported hatha Yoga stretches to move a level higher than in the beginning.
You can feel the action of these core muscles when you lie on the floor and extend
through the crown of your head. As they contract, your neck elongates and you
will feel the back of your head slide along the floor. In yoga postures we use
imaging cues to get the same result. When standing, for example, we might imagine “a string drawing upward at the crown of the head,” and when we do, the longus colli contracts and the neck lengthens.
As these muscles become stronger, they can overcome the downward pull of the
large muscles at the back of the neck that occurs when the head is misaligned. But
this is only possible when we first align the neck from the hyoid, “undoing” the tension that would otherwise make this lengthening impossible.
An opportunity to practice releasing Tension with symmetry.
A variety of yoga poses gives us the opportunity to realign and thus release tension
in muscles that shorten the back of the neck, while strengthening muscles
that lengthen it. These include virabhadrasana II, trikonasana, and the other standing poses. Backbends help us to strengthen the neck as it extends fully; twists
help to refine the alignment of the neck; and forward bends stretch the muscles of
the spine and neck where tension resides. How we cue ourselves in each of these
postures is vital, because if done poorly, they can create more tension in the neck
and communicate it to the rest of the body. We see this often in standing poses in
which students habitually shorten the back of their neck, hyperextending it as they
hunch their shoulders—as if they were using their neck muscles to hold up their
For example, students frequently hunch their shoulders and tighten the neck in
virabhadrasana II (warrior 2). We could correct the shoulder alignment by rotating
the arms externally (palms up) to release the shoulder blades down the back, but
this adjustment addresses a symptom, not the cause. The real “stuckness” in the
pose lies at the base of the head, where the neck muscles are tense. If we draw
the top of the throat (at the hyoid) back and up while gently extending upward
through the crown of the head, the shoulder blades automatically release down
the back and the body opens to the breath, becoming lighter and more expansive.
Backbends present a greater challenge because the neck is taken back into full extension—and often jammed in hyperextension, which translates into pinching in the lower back as well as in the neck. Even the anticipation of moving into a backbend may be enough to tighten the muscles that pull the neck into hyperextension. This often happens in ustrasana (camel pose). There is a tendency to take the head back too quickly, “tipping” it back from the top and pinching the neck and lower back in the process. As the back of the neck locks up and the hyoid area of the throat shifts forward, we end up jamming the spine rather than truly opening and extending it. If we allow ustrasana to unfold naturally instead, the pose will teach us proper alignment of the neck and reduce and release tension in the body. (This is one reason why backbends can be so euphoric.) Begin with a lift in your heart as you draw your shoulders back. Then take your head back from the top of the throat, rather than from the top of your head. This is the fundamental movement initiated from the hyoid.
- COMMITTED YOGI
FROM 21st TO 30th OF THE MONTH
We create a continuous flow yoga class targeted to shoulder and neck with more than 30 poses.
The most common cause of neck pain is stress on muscles and ligaments stemming from poor postural habits, which are often related to our computerized, stressful, sedentary lifestyle.
One of the most pain-producing postural problems is forward head posture, where the head protrudes in front of the shoulders and the upper back rounds. The best strategy for people struggling with neck pain is self-care. Yoga means self-care.