Off all the engineering marvels found in nature, the human neck is perhaps the most fascinating. Not only does it support the head in its external movements, it also protects a number of internal mechanisms. For example, it connects the mouth to the lungs. It also contains the wind pipe, food pipe, vocal cords and so on and so forth. The mobility of the human neck is one of its greatest features. This however, also makes it most prone to damage and injury. Yoga is great for the body but not if you have an existing injury. We at the Spinalogy Clinic, Pune help you understand what yoga poses to avoid if you suffer from neck pain.
There are some yoga poses that you can just look at and know you need to avoid if you have neck pain. Take for example the Fish pose. This pose requires you to lie flat on your back and raise your upper body on your elbows without lifting your head off the floor. Undoubtedly this cannot be easy if you have an existing neck injury. Then there’s the needle and thread pose. Here you need to twist your torso while kneeling on the floor. Again, not something you should try if you already suffer from neck pain. But in this article, Spinalogy Clinic takes a look at some of the not-so-obvious yoga poses to avoid if you suffer from neck pain.
1. The Big Toe Pose (Padangusthasana): This pose requires you to touch your toes without bending your knees. While this may seem to focus more on your toes, the pose also requires you to hang your head loosely towards your feet. This in turn pulls the weight of your torso towards your neck, adding unwarranted pressure.
2. Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana): Here the body needs to form a ‘V’ shape by balancing on the buttocks. Your legs need to be in the air while your arms need to extend forward parallel to the ground. This pose strengthens the abdominal muscles and hip flexors but also puts a strain on the back and neck.
3. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana): In this pose the body is shaped like a bow. Lying on your stomach you need to raise your legs and hold your ankles. To do this pose one must first warm-up the upper body. When your arms are stretched backwards to hold the ankles, the neck is also stretched. It is for this reason that this pose should be avoided by those suffering from neck pain.
4. Camel Pose (Ustrasana): Similar to the bow pose, this pose is done with your knees on the floor. Here too you need to stretch backwards and hold your ankles. When you do this each vertebra of your spinal cord bends to its maximum capacity. But some of them may not be able to bend as much as the others due to tightness in the surrounding muscles and ligaments. This is when you feel discomfort in the neck.
5. Dolphin Plank Pose (Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana): In this pose your body need to be parallel to the ground, taking support only from your elbows and toes. The emphasis here is on the core muscles, arms and shoulders. Each part of your body needs to be aligned in order for this pose to be effective. However, it takes some practice to master. For example people tend to shrug their shoulders. This crunches the muscles of the neck and strains it.
As you can see yoga poses don’t necessarily need to focus on the neck in order to affect it. Yet yoga is extremely beneficial and should be done under proper guidance. In order to avoid further neck pain, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
1. No matter what the asana, try and maintain the natural curve of the neck.
2. Avoid moving the neck beyond its regular range of movement
Remember that many poses can be done with the assistance of props such as yoga blocks, a blanket or even a wall.
Keep these in mind while attempting yoga with pre existing neck pain. or visit the Spinalogy Clinic, Pune for further guidance.
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