Have you ever woken up feeling like your skull is being jammed down onto the top of your spine? Like it’s being pulled down really hard by the muscles at the back of your neck?
I know, that’s super descriptive and specific. No? How about this … do you get tension headaches?
Let me introduce you to your new best friend. This amazing self-myofascial release technique to release your neck, upper traps, and shoulders is something I pull out in my regular yoga classes and on my own mat often (thanks to all the pull-ups, HSPUs, and what not). Today I’m sharing it with you for Fave Things Friday.
Here’s how you do it: put a yoga block (the firmer the better IMO) on the second highest height on the floor and lay back so that the long edge of the block that’s closest to you rests right on the edge of the bony ridge at the back of your skull. Then take your arms out the side and let your shoulders drop back toward the floor. Stay here for about 10 breaths to let your shoulders sink down and the back of your neck lengthen and unwind. And here’s where the magic really begins …
Then, slowly turn your head all the way to your right, along the way you’ll roll over some thick, rope-like muscles right beside your neck bones. (FYI: these are your upper traps which connect into the base of your skull on each side.) Slowly roll halfway back and pause anywhere along the way. Relax as much as possible to let the block “sink in” to the tissues. Stay as long as you like on the right side then roll your head back to the center and repeat on the left side.
Full disclosure: this might be a little uncomfortable if you’re tight here (like me). You’ll likely feel a dull, achy sensation but you shouldn’t feel anything that’s sharp or radiates out – if you do, steer clear of that area.
After a few minutes of that, you’ll be right as rain. Try it out and let me know what you think!
For more yoga to help keep your body and mind feeling strong and happy, check out my beginner-friendly Yoga for Durability online classes – available for rent or purchase, anywhere, anytime.