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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 November 11, 2019

                      How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                      How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

                      Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

                      To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

                      Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

                      1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

                      Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

                      Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

                      To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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                      2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

                      Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

                      If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

                      Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

                      3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

                      Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

                      Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

                      4. Feed Your Brain

                      Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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                      This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

                      Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

                      Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

                      5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

                      According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

                      Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

                      Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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                      6. Write it Down

                      If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

                      It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

                      You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

                      7. Listen to Music

                      Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

                      8. Visual Concepts

                      In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

                      Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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                      Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

                      9. Teach Someone Else

                      Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

                      Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

                      10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

                      Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

                      So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

                      Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

                      More About Boosting Memory

                      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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