In today’s world most of the time we spend most of our time in body positions that involve shifting the head forward. These are positions at the computer, while driving, looking at the phone and even standing under the shower, people shift their head forward relative to the vertical axis of the spine, which creates chronic tension in the muscles of the cervico-thoracic region and leads to slouching. Avoid stooping from an early age will help: https://www.julianalucky.com/yoga-for-kids.
This results in a deterioration of cerebral blood circulation with all the ensuing consequences: headaches, increased fatigue, impaired concentration and other consequences of tension. If we consider the somatopsychic consequences, we learn that chronic tension of the trapezius muscles, for example, influences increased anxiety and unreasonable fears.
In order to prevent chronic tension from forming, it is necessary to perform regular compensatory techniques involving cervicothoracic traction and flexion. In this article, we will present two simple exercises that are recommended to be performed 2-3 times a day.
First exercise “Passive Flexion on Supporting Blocks”
Lie on your back, with your pelvis slightly twisted forward. Take two support blocks, as shown in (Fig.1). Place the first block on a rib and lie on it with the area between your shoulder blades so that your chest is exposed. Place the second block under the back of your head, stretching your neck slightly. Place your palms up, shoulders out to the sides of the neck and shoulder blades down to the lower back. Stay in this position for 2 to 5 minutes. Breathe softly with your abdomen. In a more advanced version – the abdominal breathing alternates with full breathing. For 5 breaths on the abdomen do 1 full breath.
Exiting the asana smoothly, by rolling onto the side.
Note: After taking the position, it’s important to make sure that there is no pain in the lower back or in the upper spine. In case of strong discomfort, you should get out of the position and enter again.
The position of the blocks is chosen individually. General guidelines: the first block is located between the shoulder blades, the lower border of the block – the area of solar plexus. One can try to move the body forward and backward by 1-2 centimeters, selecting the optimal variant for oneself. The second block position (below the neck) can be on the rib. It is important to keep the cervical spine extended. In the final position you should get a comfortable flexion in the thoracic spine. The neck feels comfortable, with no cramping.
Contraindications: hernias and protrusion in the thoracic and cervical spine. In this case, it is necessary to consult with a competent yoga doctor or yoga therapist before performing the exercises.
After this exercise it is recommended to move on to the “Cobra light version” pose (at one time, in one Indian ashram they joked about this asana, calling it “Cobra at the TV” pose).
Second exercise: “Cobra light version”.
Lie down on your stomach. Lower your forehead to the floor, stretching out the cervico-thoracic spine. Palms under shoulders. Inhale and bend at the thoracic end and raise the upper torso. Place your hands on your elbows and place your chin on your palms as shown in Figure 2. Slightly pull the back of the head up with the chin pointing to the throat and make sure you get a nice flexion in the cervico-thoracic spine from the shoulder blades to the 7th cervical vertebra. Hold this position for 2 to 5 minutes. Close your eyes and keep breathing calmly.
These two simple exercises should be performed several times during the day. In addition to the pleasant and beneficial effects on the spine, they are energizing and enthusiastic. You rest and return to work with renewed vigor. On the psychological level, bending affects your confidence.
A good variant of alternating these exercises with work looks like this: 2-3 hours of work at the computer, 5-10 minutes for exercises.
These and similar exercises are performed by conscious people, understanding that it is better to find 10-15 minutes for compensatory exercises, than to treat osteochondrosis and other body ailments for years.
To conclude the article, here are a few recommendations for reducing tension in the cervico-thoracic spine:
1) Arrange your workspace so that the monitor is at eye level. If you are working on a laptop, use a second keyboard.
2) Sitting on a chair, do dynamic exercises for rounding and bending the spine. It’s helpful to end the exercise by locking the flexion and squeezing the area between your shoulder blades for a few seconds.
3) When looking at your smartphone, try to raise the device higher, closer to eye level.
4) Regularly perform the exercises suggested in this article.
We wish you excellent well-being!