While work from home saves us from the hassle of daily commute, it has unfurled other challenges. Most of us do not have a dedicated work space or ergonomic chairs that we are used to in offices. As a result, the posture gets affected leading to stiff neck, tight shoulders and back pain. Vesna P.Jacob, holistic fitness guru, physiotherapist, Pilates expert and author says, “Neck and shoulder pain were already a problem and the situation where all our work has shifted to the virtual realm, has worsened the pain. However, there are plenty of exercises that are easy to do and help you recover and prevent painful or stiff neck and shoulders. Do each of the exercises given below 10-15 times.”
The Cat Stretch
If you have a pet dog or cat or both you must have noticed that the first thing they do after a rest is to stretch. We can learn a lot from them. Get on your hands and knees and mimic how a cat stretches by rounding it’s back while inhaling.
The Dog Stretch
As you exhale arch your back and stretch like a dog. This is an excellent way to stretch your back gently. Take care to initiate the movement from your pelvis rather than the shoulders.
Stay in the cat stretch, place your right behind your head, rotate your shoulders to try touch your right elbow to the other elbow without shifting the rest of the body. Repeat the same movement on the other side.
Under the Arm
Stay in the cat stretch, lift your right hand off the ground and stretch the side of your back by the taking the right arm under the left shoulder and relax the entire arm and try to touch the shoulder on the ground. Repeat the on the other side.
Sit cross legged and place the right palm behind your ear as high on the neck so that your fingertips are on the base of the skull, allow the weight of the arm and head to push the down forward. Don’t actively push the head down let gravity do the work.
You can also use a second variation where the base of your palm is on the side of your head and fingers close to your ear, in this movement use the weight of the arm and head to pull the head down sideways.
Stretching Behind the Back
This exercise which closely resembles Gomukhasana helps your shoulders and chest open up. Sit crossed legged, lift your right arm up and bend the elbow so that your hand is on your back, take the left arm behind your back and try and touch the right hand with your left. If your range of movement does not allow you to do the full movement. Use a face towel to help you bridge the gap