Yin Yoga for the Neck
By Bernie Clark • April 7th, 2011 • 13246 Views
You can try to find some slight variations to where you feel the stress: if you turn your head a little to the right while the chin is down, you may find the stress has moved a bit diagonally to the right side of the neck. No longer are you only feeling the back of the neck, nor are you feeling the side of the neck as we did in the lateral flexions: now you are targeting the tissues between the side and the back of the neck. Play with this so you can get the stress to be just where you want it.
If you feel you are not at your full edge, feel free to interlace the fingers of both hands and gently rest your hands on the back of your head. Again, don't pull - the weight of your hands and arms will be enough to bring you deeper.
Be aware that you may never get to a place where you feel a deep stretch here: if you have been doing yoga for a long time, you may have already stretched out those back of the neck tissues enough so that what is stopping you now is compression. Compression is the ultimate end game for any movement: once the body comes in contract with itself, it cannot go further. For example, if your chin is on your chest, there is no way that you can increase the stress on the back of the neck further; any increased stress will build up at the point of compression. You have reached your ultimate limit, so there is no point pulling harder with your hands. Sometimes, compression is reached even before the chin hits the chest: the bones at the base of the skull may contact the front of the vertebrae in the neck, or two or more vertebrae may be compressing into each other. If you feel that you are stuck due to sensations in the throat area, don't force it. Just chill where you are.
One final comment about flexion of the neck: there are many poses in Yin Yoga where you are naturally flexing the neck. In Butterfly, Caterpillar and the variations of Straddle fold,...
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