You can make those everyday neck, shoulder pains disappear | Yoga & You

By Michael Szymanski, NASM, CES

When I was 30 years old, I suffered a debilitating back-pain attack. The only thing I found that helped was yoga and massage. I was so impressed that I changed careers.

For the last 35 years, I have traveled all over the country studying and teaching. I settled in Santa Monica, Calif. in 1996 and taught at the Pacific Athletic Club in Pacific Palisades. Then moved to Kingston in 2001 and began teaching at the Kingston Community Center and at Island Fitness on Bainbridge Island. In 2006, I opened the Kingston Yoga Center on Cliffside Drive in Kingston. During these years in Kitsap, I have taught hundreds of local students.

It takes years to master the techniques of yoga, but there are some short, easy to learn, practices that almost anyone can do in just a few minutes. The catch is you have to do them regularly. It’s just that simple.

— Subject: Tight neck and shoulders.
—  Practice: Take a deep breath and hold. Gently squeeze the shoulders up to ears. Exhale with a sigh and, at the same time, drop the shoulders.
—  Theory: When you’re under stress, you unconsciously “turtle” your neck and shoulders and hold them in that position all day long. The gentle squeeze, sigh and exhale cause a relaxation response and a release.
—  Comments: This exercise must be done several times during the day to be effective. For example, do it before you answer your phone and while on hold; when you check the time; at a red light or stop sign and while waiting in line. Soon you will realize why your neck and shoulder muscles were so sore.
—  Note: Proven highly effective in reducing nurses’ sick leave at hospitals. That’s why this exercise has been called the “nurses’ shrug.”

— Michael Szymanski,


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