Most of us have felt neck pain, stiffness, or tightness at some point in our lives. But, do you know how to release the tension? Our neck stretch is a modification, utilizing myofascial stretching principles, of a traditional stretch. Give this stretch a try with a slow, gentle, and prolonged hold in order to eliminate tension and stiffness.

Here is how to perform the neck stretch:
1. Place one hand on your opposite shoulder, letting it slowly sink in, like making handprints in soft clay. Drop your shoulders and let the weight of your arm “anchor” the soft tissue here.

2. Gently elongate through your spine by imagining your tailbone reaching for the floor then, starting at the bottom, “float” each vertebra off of the one below it until you reach the top (head).

3. Slowly allow your head to tip away from your hand, imagining you have a string attached to the top of your head and someone is gently lengthening it. Tip and lengthen the neck until you meet slight tension (barrier). Stop at this first point of tension.

4. Wait for the tissue to soften (release) and then you can move slowly further into the stretch until you meet another point of tension. You may feel the head and neck want to move naturally, allow it to happen as this is your body unwinding.

5. Follow the releases, stopping an waiting at each barrier/restriction until a release is felt. Perform the stretch for a minimum of 3-5 minutes.

NOTES:
* Slowly move into the stretch
* Never force, a light to medium stretch should be felt
* If you aren’t feeling a softening you are too far into the stretch. Back out until only a light stretch is felt.

Check out our myofascial stretching classes at www.naturalbalancetherapy.com/events.