We rely on our phones for secure communication and entertainment, and according to one study, the average person in the U.S. spends almost 3 hours of the day on their smartphone. Unfortunately, despite the convenience and fun, we get from our phones, a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information proved a significant correlation between neck pain and cellphone use.
This is due to the hunched over posture most of us take while browsing and texting on our phones. The average human head weighs 10-12 pounds, and by looking down for prolonged periods, tons of pressure is put on our neck muscles.
All of that strain leads to the modern health issue of "text neck", or aches, sharp pain, and stiffness felt in the in the neck or upper back. But all hope for neck health is not lost! Regular yoga practice has been found to combat neck pain and strain. Want to know some of the most effective yoga moves to ease your "text neck" pain? Look no further:
Mountain Pose, or Tadasana, is the foundation of all standing yoga poses and inversions, often used in yoga to prepare for other poses. It may look like you're just standing there; however, Mountain Pose is incredibly active and helps you to align your body and improve your posture properly.
How to do it: Stand tall with big toes touching, toes spread, and heels slightly apart, keeping shoulders relaxed. Engage legs by lifting knee caps and tucking pelvis slightly in. Inhale and engage the core, exhaling while lifting the spine up to the crown of the head. It is helpful to imagine a string pulling up from the top of your head like a puppet. Continue to keep shoulders relaxed, back and down, with neck neutral and chin parallel to the floor. Breathe slow and steady, holding for up to one minute.
The Chin Tuck pose is a simple move that can be done on a yoga mat, in your car, or even at your desk! The stretch strengthens your neck muscles, pulling your head back into alignment
How to do it: Sit tall in a chair or on a yoga mat, facing forward and keeping chin parallel to the floor. Using a finger on your chin as a guide, gently pull head and chin back, as if trying to make a double chin. Imagining a puppet string again, elongate your neck. Take three deep breaths while keeping jaw relaxed. Gently release and repeat.
Supine Abdominal Twist
The Supine Abdominal Twist, or Jathara Parivartanasana, is a gentle rotation of the spine that opens tight shoulders and eases back and neck tension. The joints' active opening strengthens the upper back muscles and reverses the hunched posture most of the fall into while texting.
How to do it: Lie on back with knees bent and feet touching the floor. Press into feet to slightly lift the pelvis off the floor, shifting slightly to the right. Gently lower pelvis back down. Lift knees toward your chest, and then twist by lowering your knees to the left. Stretch arms out into a T shape. For an extra stretch, turn head to the right, in the opposite direction of knees, looking past your fingers. Take several deep breaths before returning to the center. Repeat on the other side.
Thread the Needle Pose
The Thread, the Needle Pose, effectively releases tension in your neck and upper back and is suitable for yoga beginners and experts. The slight spinal twist it provides has detoxing benefits, and some believe the pose can even make you taller!
How to do it: Start on all fours in tabletop position, wrists under shoulders and knees under hips. Extend your right arm, actively stretch through your fingers, extend your arm towards the ceiling, and open the chest, keeping gaze on the right hand. Keeping hips grounded, slowly move your right arm under your chest, "threading the needle" by sliding your right arm under your still raised left arm. Rest your head and right shoulder on the mat. Hold and breath for several moments. Repeat on other side.
Preventing Text Neck
The way people typically hold their phones is the main cause of bad posture and "text neck." However, simply raising your phone to eye level instead of hunching over to use it can significantly decrease the pressure you put on your neck. It is a tough habit to break and will require consciously keeping yourself in check. It is also helpful to set reminders on your phone to take a break from looking down to stand up straight, or even practice some chin tucks!
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