The neck adds beauty to the face and figure. This slender stem beside supporting the head permits it to bend up and down and to turn almost 180 degrees. The neck is extremely vulnerable to signs of skin ageing due to frequent movements, friction from clothing and external aggressions. Many everyday habits also contribute to sagging of the skin. Sleeping in an awkward position, slumping over a desk, squeezing a cell phone between the ear and shoulder, anger, fear or mental stress can cause neck muscles to tighten and contribute to muscle fatigue.
To maintain a youthful quality and suppleness of the neck, specific asanas need to be done. A few minutes a day of Griva Sanchalana asanas can lead to tighter, smoother and a well-toned neck. Other benefits include improvement in sleep, vision and hearing and prevent headaches since the nerves in the neck go to the brain. Sit in an erect posture with the neck relaxed and the shoulders facing forward, keeping the eyes gently closed.
Forward and Backward Bending
Drop head back to rear slowly keeping facial muscles relaxed and lips parted slightly. Bring head back to centre slowly. Now bend head forward slowly as close to the sternum as possible. Slowly return to centre. This is one round. Do 10 such rounds.
Ear to Shoulder Bend
Without lifting the shoulders bend head slowly and gently to the left side and then raise back to centre. Then from centre slowly to right-hand side and back to centre. The pull of the neck muscles should be felt on the opposite side of the neck. That is the pull is felt on the left-hand side of the neck when the head is bent to the right and vice versa. This is one round. Do 10 such rounds.
Side to Side Rotation
Keeping the shoulders still and head erect turn it very slowly and evenly to the right as far as you can comfortably go, hold for a few seconds and bring it back to centre. Then slowly turn to the left going only as far as you feel comfortable. Hold for a few seconds and return to centre. Turning contracts the muscles and returning relaxes them. This is one round. Do 10 such rounds.
Neck Rotations (Clockwise and anti-clockwise)
Keeping your neck relaxed and your shoulders facing forward drop head down till chin is near sternum turn it and rotate head to right till right ear is near right shoulder (do not raise the shoulder) Roll it backwards as far as it is comfortable and then rotate head all the way to the left till left ear is near the left shoulder and completing the circle drop head forwards that is, initial position. This is one round. Do five such rounds clockwise and five such rounds anti-clockwise.
Shoulder Raises (shoulder lifts)
Keeping face front and neck relaxed the shoulders facing forward, slowly and gently lift both shoulders towards ears and slowly, brings back to starting position. This is one round. Do such 10 rounds.
Jaw Toning 1
Open your mouth and stick out the tongue as far as you can, pointing the tongue tip towards. You should feel the muscles in your neck tightening up, clench jaws till the cords of your neck stand out. Hold for as long as comfortable. This is one such round. Do 20 such rounds.
Jaw Toning 2
Keeping the face front and shoulders relaxed, contract the muscles in the front of your neck. Try to make them rigid and tense. Close your teeth tightly and clench jaws till the cords of your neck stand out. This is one round. Do 10 such rounds.
Do the exercises with caution, moving slowly, smoothly and with no jerks. Those with high BP or cervical should be careful not to bend too much backwards or forwards. Breathing is slow and through the nose. If you find pain in a certain position stops the exercise immediately. To get maximum benefits establish a regular time for your sessions.
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