The following exercise teaches you to learn how to manage your neck in a safe way. The neck is alternately stretched and released very slowly. This allows the spaces between the vertebrae to lengthen and relieves stiffness in the neck. We also use this exercise before practicing headstands in order to release the neck to its maximum length.

  • Start in Kneeling Pose. (See Post 25/6/12). Check that your toes are in line and that the big toes are touching.
  • Take the knees about hip-width apart or whatever is comfortable for you.
  • Place your hands in front of your knees, arms straight with the inner elbows in line with the ceiling. Spread out your fingers with the thumbs touching.
  • Make sure the buttocks are in contact with the backs of the thighs at all times.
  • Inhaling, slowly extend your neck away from the shoulders. Exhaling, gently drop your head towards the floor, feeling the neck release as you do so.
  • Continue in this way until you can bend the elbows, bringing your head nearer and nearer to the floor.
  • After a few more breaths, stretch out the arms and bring the forehead to the floor, as if you were practicing Child Pose.
  • Hold for 6 breaths. Inhale, and very slowly come back up to kneeling again.
  • N.B. Keep a close eye on the positioning of your neck throughout the day. Check the following: (1) Look straight ahead, then look about 2 inches below the nose; (2) Take the eyes back towards the back of the head; (3) Keep the backs of the ears directed up towards the ceiling.

NEED HELP?

~If you can’t bring your forehead to the floor, just rest your chin in your hands after you have bent the elbows.

~ If you can’t bring your buttocks in close contact with the thighs, place a cushion or folded blanket under the buttocks.

~ If you find it difficult to kneel, place a cushion or folded blanket under the buttocks and if necessary, another one under the knees.

STOP!

~ DO NOT bring the forehead to the floor if you suffer from high blood pressure or heart problems. Rest your chin in your hands instead.

~ ALWAYS be careful if you have knee problems. If you have had knee surgery, ask for your doctor’s advice before attempting kneeling poses.

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