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10 Quick Yoga Stretches For Neck Pain Relief

10 Quick Yoga Stretches For Neck Pain Relief

Long and stressful hours at the office, lengthy commutes, carpooling, and hoisting our toddlers up and down can be grueling for the mind and body. These are some of the most common stressors that cause chronic neck pain.  Management for neck pain is essential in supporting overall spinal health. Yoga is the number one preventative approach to maintaining your body’s total well being. Here are 10 simple yoga stretches to help relieve that stubborn neck pain.

1. Child’s Pose

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    • Begin in a kneeling position and inhale.
    • Exhale and drop your buttocks toward your heals as you stretch your body down and reach your arms forward.
    • Rest your arms on the earth, alongside your body with your stomach nestled between thighs and forehead on the mat.
    • Remain in child’s pose for 3-5 breaths, feeling your spine begin to lengthen and your buttocks dropping down.

    2. Cow to Cat Pose

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      • Begin in a table-top position; hands with fingers pointed forward aligning under shoulders and knees aligning under hips at hip-width distance.
      • Move into cow pose by inhaling; drop your belly toward the mat, lift the chin and chest, with eyes gazing up toward the sky.
      • Move into cat pose by exhaling; draw your belly toward the spine with a round back toward the sky.
      • Alternate between cow and cat pose 3-5 times.

       3. Seated Spinal Twist

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        • Begin seated with legs extended.
        • Cross right foot over outside of left thigh with a bent knee. The right knee is pointed toward the sky.
        • Inhale and place the left elbow to the outside of the right knee with the right hand centered to the spine on the floor behind you.
        • Exhale and twist right in a gentle movement, moving from your abdomen, keeping both sit-bones on the floor. Remain for 5 breaths.
        • Repeat on the other side. Left foot over right thigh, right elbow outside of left knee, hand centered to spine behind on the floor, twist and breathe.

         4.  Ear to Shoulder Pose

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          • Begin seated with legs crossed, looking straight ahead with arms down at your side.
          • After a deep inhale, exhale and bring your right ear down to your right shoulder without bending your head forward or backward to remain in the same line as your shoulders.
          • Inhale and raise your head back to center.
          • Exhale and repeat on the other side by drawing your left ear down to the left shoulder.
          • Repeat 3 times on both sides.

           5.  Wide Legged Forward Ben

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            • Begin in a standing position with feet wide apart.
            • Inhale and straighten your spine up before exhaling while you fold forward at the hips.
            • Gently drop your head to the earth and gaze behind you.
            • Bring your hands to the floor or wherever they can reach, with your elbows pointing behind you.
            • Remain in this pose for 3-5 breaths.

            6.  Rabbit Pose

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              • Begin in child’s pose.
              • Hold on to your heels with your hands, inhale and gently roll from your forehead to the crown of your head, lifting your hips up toward the sky.
              • Exhale and slowly lower hips to back to the heels and forehead back to starting position.
              • Repeat 3-5 times.

              7.  Extended Puppy Pose

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                • Begin in a table top position; hands with fingers pointed forward aligning under shoulders and knees aligning under hips at hip-width distance.
                • Inhale as you walk your hands out in front of you, lowering your chest down toward the ground.
                • Exhale and keep your hips over your knees and arms shoulder distance apart, while you gently release your forehead to the ground.
                • Inhale and inch your finger tips away from your body, draw your shoulder blades together, and reach your hips up toward the sky.
                • Exhale and remain in this pose for 3-5 breaths.

                8.  Fish Pose

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                  • Begin in a laying-down position with legs extended and arms resting alongside your body with palms down.
                  • Gently raise your sacral area as you bring your hands together beneath your lower spine with thumbs touching and palms flat on the floor.
                  • Inhale and press your forearms into the earth while lifting your upper back to create an arch.
                  • Exhale; lift your shoulder blades and upper torso off of the earth, gently tilting your head back so the crown of your head is to the floor.
                  • Remain in this pose for 3-5 breaths.

                  9.  Legs Up The Wall Pose

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                    • Begin in a laying-down position with legs raised above hips and pressed against the wall.
                    • Shift your weight from side to side as you inch your buttocks toward the wall.
                    • Inhale and let your arms rest open at your sides with palms facing up.
                    • Exhale and let your hip joints and lower back come into contact with the earth.
                    • Close your eyes and remain in this pose for 5-7 breaths.

                    10. Corpse Pose with Head and Neck Support

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                      • Place a bolster, folded blanket, or towel on the earth where your head will rest.
                      • Lie back on the bolster with knees bent.
                      • Place the bolster under your head and neck.
                      • Inhale and extend legs one at a time.
                      • Exhale and allow your body to relax into the earth with arms placed out to the side and palms up.
                      • Focus on inhaling and lengthening along the earth while you exhale.
                      • Continue to breathe with eyes closed for 3-10 breaths.

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                      Last Updated on January 11, 2021

                      11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

                      11 Hidden Benefits of Using Oil Diffusers

                      Affordable, relaxing, and healthy, oil diffusers are gaining popularity with people everywhere due to their extensive benefits. Oil diffusers work through the simple process of oil diffusion, which uses heat to turn oil into a vapor that is then spread around a living space. Diffused oil can have several relaxation and health-related benefits, including safe scent-dispersion, mosquito and mold defense, stress relief, and more!

                      Read on for 11 hidden benefits of using oil diffusers.

                      1. Safe Scents That Make Sense

                      Unlike candles or air fresheners, oil diffusers release cleansing molecules into your air that work to purify it, not overload it with unhealthy chemicals. Electronic diffusers also do not pose the fire risk that candles do. Plus, they contain the added feature of interchangeability, which means you change oil types for different scents and health benefits.

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                      2. Stress Relief

                      Several lab studies have confirmed that diffusing essential oils like lavender have been shown to reduce stress and help relieve anxiety in medical patients. Preliminary studies have also shown that oil diffusers can help alleviate symptoms of depression.

                      3. Improved Sleep

                      Diffused oil has relaxing properties that can help people of all ages fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Electronic diffusers not only have the option to mix and match different oil blends (Try a lavender, Bulgarian rose, and Roman chamomile blend to help with insomnia), they also run at a gentle hum that helps relax an agitated mind. Many also come with an auto shut-off feature to help conserve oils once you have fallen asleep.

                      4. Appetite Control

                      Much like gum, oil diffusers can help stimulate the senses in a way that works to curb appetite. New research has shown that diffused peppermint oil can help curb appetite by inducing a satiety response within the body. Diffused peppermint oil has also been shown to increase energy.

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                      5. Bacteria and Mold Killing

                      When essential oils are diffused in the air, they break down free radicals that contribute to the growth of harmful bacteria. Eucalyptus, thyme, and tea tree oils are especially good for this purpose. Diffused oil is also highly effective when it comes to combating fungal yeast threats, as the oil help makes the air inhospitable for yeasts such as mold. Pine and red thyme essential oils are best for combating mold.

                      6. Decongestion and Mucus Control

                      Ever tried Vick’s Vapo-Rub? Its decongesting powers come from active ingredients made from the eucalyptus tree. In principle, oil diffusers work the same way as Vapo-Rub, except they diffuse their decongesting vapor all around the room, not just on your chest or neck. Oil diffusers have been known to cure pneumonia in lab mice.

                      7. Mosquito Repellant

                      Nobody likes mosquitoes — but when the trade-off means using repellants full of DEET, a toxic chemical that can be especially harmful to children, mosquito control can often seem like a lose-lose. However, scientists have shown that oil diffusers can be used as a safe and highly effective mosquito repellant. Studies have shown that a diffused oil mixture containing clove essential oil and lemongrass essential oil repelled one type of Zika-carrying mosquito, the Aedes aegypti mosquito, at a rate of 100%.

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                      8. Pain Relief

                      While applying oils directly to areas of your body may be the most effective way to alleviate pain, diffusing essential oils can also be an effective means of pain relief. When we inhale healthy essential oils, they enter our blood stream and can help internally relieve persistent pain from headaches, overworked muscles, and sore joints.

                      9. The New Anti-Viral

                      Research into the anti-viral effects of oil diffusion is now just gaining steam. A recent study showed that star anise essential oil was proven in medical experiments to destroy the herpes simplex virus in contained areas at a rate of 99%. Another study showed the popular DoTerra oil blend OnGuard to have highly-effective influenza-combating powers.

                      10. Improved Cognitive Function

                      Diffusing essential oils has also been shown to improve cognitive function. Many essential oils have adaptogenic qualities, which can work twofold in soothing us when we’re stressed, and giving our bodies a pick-me-up when we’re feeling down or sluggish. By working to level out an imbalanced mood, diffused oils also help us to focus. There are also several essential oils which have been shown to help balance the body’s hormones. With prolonged use, these oils can work to repair the underlying causes responsible for hindering cognitive function.

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                      11. Money Saving

                      With ten clear benefits of oil diffusers already outlined, there is one more that should now be obvious: using an oil diffuser will help you to save money. As an anti-viral, bug repelling, and stress-relief solution rolled into one safe product, an oil diffuser used with the proper oils will save you money on products you might otherwise be buying to help cure those pesky headaches or get your kids to fall asleep on time. If you’re wondering just how affordable oil diffusers can be, check the buyer’s guide to the best oil diffusers — you’ll be sure to find one that fits your budget!

                      Featured photo credit: Jopeel Quimpo via unsplash.com

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