Too Tight to Stretch Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 9

Computer Neck Relief

20 min - Practice


This class will help relieve tension in your neck, shoulders, and upper back from the forward folding we often do in our daily lives. Using a sturdy chair, we explore creating space in these trouble areas through gentle dynamic movements, self massage, and accessible postures with the help of a strap. You will feel released and refreshed.
What You'll Need: Mat, Chair, Blanket, Strap

About This Video


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Welcome. Thank you so much for joining me. In this class, it's my hope that we can relieve a little tension from what I like to call computer or tech snack from all of that forward folding rounding that we do over our electronics and our modern life. So you're going to want to grab a nice sturdy chair so that it's not going to move. And then we're going to have one yoga blanket and one yoga strap. So go ahead and grab those props and join me. I'm going to place my blanket in front of my chair to go under my feet, because I'm a little bit shorter. If you're a little bit taller, you may want to place your blanket on your chair just so that we're finding this nice femur alignment so that we can rise up and sit tall. The strap can just go off to your side. We're going to use that a little bit later. Let's begin. Take a moment to place your hands onto your thighs. Sit up nice and tall through the spine. Let the ribs rise up shoulder softening. Take an inhale through the nose and exhale. Feel yourself land on your next inhale. Let those shoulders lift straight up into your earlobes like a straight line. And then with a nice big exhale, loop the shoulders back and down, rounding. We're creating the uppercase letter D shape with our shoulders. Inhale the straight edge of the D. Exhale the loop back and down. One more inhale to rise. Exhale to release and loop down with the shoulders back and down. Begin to gently drop your chin forward to meet your chest. They may not come anywhere close together. That's totally fine. Just coming as far forward as feels comfortable. But without rounding your shoulders, still broad through the chest. With an inhale rolling slowly and gently left ear to left shoulder. Exhale back to center. Inhale right ear to right shoulder. Exhale back to center. And we'll just take this side to side a few times with your breath. See what's showing up for you today. As we bring that chin back to the chest, take a nice open mouth. Exhale, soften the jaw. Inhale, lift the head up. And we're going to take that right arm out to the side. And as the right arm opens broad, let the palm face forward to begin. And then with an exhale, rotate so that the palm face is behind you and your thumb faces down. We'll do that again. Forward and back. And just feel into that flossing motion of the head of the humerus rotating back and forth. Next time the palm faces back, so behind you, we'll bend the elbow and bring the hand towards the lower back area so the palm is facing out. The opposite left hand is going to come to the front of that right shoulder and we're going to take a couple nice big shoulder loops up into the ear and back. Up into the ear and back. And the next time you rotate the shoulder back, this left hand is just gently coaxing the chest a little wider. And then we're going to go ahead and dip that left ear over towards the left shoulder. Take a couple big full breaths here. Dropping that chin left ear to left chin comes over towards the shoulder and then we're going to look forward and back down. So we're almost turning in the head as if we're saying no. Feel into those different sensations. Pause wherever you need it. And then to come out, slowly release the hands back towards the lap, head back to center and give yourself a moment just to take inventory. When you're ready for the other side, take that left arm out big and wide, sitting tall. Palm is going to face forward. Thumb faces the ceiling. Then we're going to rotate that palm behind, palm to the floor. Palm open, palm behind. Feel into that flossing. Next time the palm faces back, go ahead and bend the elbow. Take the hand to the lower back, palm facing away, right hand across the chest to the front of the left shoulder. Take a couple nice big shoulder loops here, almost like you're rowing a boat. And then the next time we rotate the shoulder back, just gently coaxing that open using your right hand. Let the head start to slowly tilt over to the right side. So right ear towards right shoulder. Breathe into whatever is showing up here and then begin to explore, bringing your chin towards the shoulder and then a little bit more to the sky. Again, like we're gently turning the head. No. That's it. And then the next time we bring that chin down, we're going to release the arms, bring the palms back to the thighs, head back to center. Inhale and exhale. Now dropping that left ear back to the shoulder like we've been doing, we're going to bring that left arm up over and across the head and just let that hand rest gently near the right ear. I'm not pulling, I'm not being aggressive. I'm just letting gravity take over. Now let that right arm reach out to the side and just begin to flow that arm through space. I like to envision seaweed in the ocean so you can play with some different motions front to back, up and down. And you may find a particular angle that feels particularly nummy today. So feel free to pause. And then we'll bring that right hand back to the thigh, release the hold around the ear and bring that left hand now to the underside of the head towards the left ear. And we're just going to use that hand to gently help lift up the head so the muscles don't have to work and we're supporting the weight of the head. Pause for a moment here and allow yourself to check in. When you're ready to take it to the other side, dropping right ear towards right shoulder, right hand's going to come up over and across the head, fingertips resting towards the ear. And then that opposite arm is going to rise out and we're going to float it around in space again like seaweed in the ocean. So no right or wrong way to move here. Just see what feels intuitively good. Once that feels complete, we're going to bring that hand back to the thigh, right hand comes towards the right ear just for a little bit of support so the muscles can be at ease as we lift our head back to neutral. Take a moment at center, check in with your breathing. And then we're going to bring our left arm across the chest. Right hand's going to come up and we're going to grab a hold right about midway between elbow and shoulder on the humerus. Give yourself a little one arm tug and then this free left hand can be used as a little massage. You can massage the back of the shoulder, you can massage up towards the side of the neck. See what feels good for you. And then you'll see that our elbows are already a little bit stacked, a little bit wrapped. There's no need to try to force the elbows together.

So we're going to come into a little eagle arm variation. So elbows as close together as it feels comfortable. Maybe the arms just remain crossed in an X. Maybe you grab a hold of your elbow or perhaps your palms come together easily. With an inhalation we're going to lift our elbows up towards the ceiling, lift the gaze. And with our exhalation we're going to bring the elbows towards the tummy, round the spine, chin to the chest. Inhale, rise up. Lift the elbows, lift the ribs, lift the gaze. And with our exhale, rounding. One more like that. Inhale, rising up. And exhale, coming down. Rise back up to center, unwrap those arms, take a moment to broaden the chest, palms face forward. And then exhale, resting once again, palms on the lap. When you're ready to move to the other side, right arm's going to come across the chest for that one arm tug. Grabbing a hold about midway between the joints, give a little squeeze. And then the right hand now can be used to massage the left side of the neck, the left side shoulder. See what you need. And then again we're kind of wrapped. So come up towards whatever eagle arm variation works for you. Maybe palms out, maybe palms are together. Or maybe just grabbing a hold of your forearm. With an inhale, lift the elbows up towards the ceiling. And with an exhale, round that back. Inhale, rising up. Lift the heart, lift the gaze, lift the chin. And exhale to round and squeeze. Feel the shoulder blades broaden here. One more time. Inhale to lift. And exhale to round. Nice. Come back up to center. Let the arms unwrap as we broaden the chest. Maybe even lifting the gaze this time to open the front of the throat. And exhale everything back to center to land. We'll now bring our strap into play. So go ahead and take a hold of your yoga strap. If your strap is extra long, if you have one of those eight foot or ten foot straps, it's helpful to fold it in half so that we don't have as much strap dangling. So my strap's just folded in half. And I'm going to straighten my arms out in front of me so the strap's a little bit broader than my shoulders. Sitting nice and tall through your chair. With an inhalation, we're just going to lift that strap up to the ceiling as far as your shoulders will allow. And just see what feels good here. Open up, maybe a little reach through the right arm, reach through the left arm. And then with our exhale, we're going to bend the elbows, bring that strap behind the head and neck, and feel the scapula, the wings of your shoulder blades squeeze together towards your spinal column, almost like they're trying to kiss the spine. And then with an inhale, lift up and exhale, bring it all the way forward out in front of us. We're going to do that two more times. Nice big circle. Inhale, rise up, sit tall, exhale, bend the elbows, feel the squeeze of the shoulder blades. Inhale, bring it up and exhale, bring it forward. Last one. Inhale, let it lift. Open up the ribs. Exhale, squeeze. Inhale, lift. And exhale, bring it forward. So now I'm going to have you hold your strap with just your right hand. Right arm is going to reach up to the ceiling, and then I'm going to bring the tail end of my strap and let it hang behind my back. And as the tail end of the strap hangs behind my back, give that right elbow a bend. And then this left hand is going to come over and help stretch open through that right shoulder. So we can open up through the armpit, open up through that right side rib, only as far as always as feels safe. Now keeping this right elbow in a bend, let the left arm come out. And similar to what we did earlier, rotate the left palm behind you. Go ahead and bend the elbow. And this time, hopefully, you can just grab a hold of that strap that's hanging at your back. Working towards a little bit of a Gomukhasa and a cow's face, ears here. So the elbows, I like to envision as the ears of that cow's face. So if your shoulders are a little bit more open, maybe your hands come together. If your shoulders are a little bit stickier, like mine are, give yourself as much space as you need along that strap. Open up the chest, broaden through the elbows. Take a couple big breaths here. Then we'll release the hold with the left arm. Let the left arm dangle.

Let the right arm reach straight up to the sky holding that strap. And then let the right arm release. We'll switch sides when you're ready. So strap comes over into our left hand. We lift the left arm to the sky, and then the tail of the strap hangs behind your back. Bend that left elbow. Let the right hand come on top of the left elbow and just help to coax open through the front of the armpit, through the front of the shoulder. See what feels good. Breathe into that space. And then keeping the elbow bent, right arm comes out. We're going to rotate that right palm so it faces behind us. Bend the elbow, come back, and find a hold of the tail into that strap. Start to walk your hands along the strap a little bit closer together as far as it feels comfortable. Broaden those cow's face, ears. Open up the chest. Make sure the neck hasn't caught in the tension. So sometimes the shoulder tension likes to creep up into the neck. So if you're feeling that, just shake out your head a little bit. A little bit yes. A little bit no. And then to release, right arm releases out and down. Left arm holding the strap reaches up. Exhale, let it all go down. We're all done with our strap now. So you can pull that off to the side, and we're going to stand up and move our chair. So the chair is going to come now to the top of our yoga mat with the seat of the chair facing us. And again, make sure it feels steady. So give it a little check. Make sure it's not going to slide out from you because we're going to put some body weight into it. And now our blanket fold can come right in front of the chair, and we're going to drop our knees gently to that blanket support. From here, as we drop our knees to the blanket support, allow the elbows to start to walk their way onto the chair seat. Bringing the palms together and begin to slowly inch the elbows a little bit closer. From here, this may already feel like plenty of a stretch for your shoulders and your upper back. If you would like to take it a little bit deeper, we're going to allow our knees to start to walk back behind us. So you may need to adjust that blanket back a little bit. Give yourself a little bit more space, keeping the elbows on the chair seat, palms together, begin to slowly sink your hips and buttocks back closer to your heels. Feel how that starts to deepen the stretch underneath the armpits, underneath the ribs, and then begin to gently drop your head into that space. You can even let your forehead rest on the edge of that chair seat.

To take it a little bit deeper still, we can start to encourage the thumbs to start to point back closer to the back of our neck, or maybe even perhaps your thumbs end up touching between the shoulder blades. We can continue to deepen by sinking the seat further towards the heels, using that chair as leverage as much as feels safe. Steady your breathing, soften your jaw. I like to really let my mouth hang open here to release all that jaw tension that can be associated with that neck tension as well. When you're done with this exploration, we start to lift the head, lift the heart, lift the hands, bring those hands back to the chair seat. And now we're going to open the arm shoulder distance, palms to the chair seat. And we're coming into this extended arms child's pose variation with these nice long arms. Again, you can let your forehead rest on the chair seat for a little support. Or if you would like more of a stretch through your neck, you can again move your blanket back another couple of inches, walk those hands along the chair, and then perhaps explore with letting your head dangle between the upper arms, chin to the chest. Feel into the elongation of your side body, all the way from the back of the hips through the tips of the fingers. Feel free to stay here and experiment with this as long as it feels welcome. But when you're ready to transition out, the gaze begins to lift up. And as the gaze lifts up, we walk up slowly towards our knees. I'm now going to bring my knees off the blanket, bring it right back up in front of the chair. And I'm going to transition so that I'm seated now on this blanket with my pelvis. So if we walk to our side, let your hip and your buttock find the blanket, we're going to start to sweep our legs up onto the chair seat. So use your hands behind you with some support. Start to bring those legs up onto the chair. Pelvis and sacrum are supported, drop the elbows so that we have a nice soft landing.

Take your time to adjust your body as you land here. Feel into that support, adjust the blanket as you need, adjust the chair as you need, and then just really surrender the weight of the body. Feel the nervous system. Take an exhale. And then with an inhale, as it's safe for your shoulders to rise overhead, I invite you to play with extending the arms back, open the side body, open up again, wide through the chest and armpits, and then perhaps bringing the palms to meet here overhead. Steeple or Charlie's Angels Mudra, as I like to call it, fingers interlaced, index fingers pointing back like you're creating that little pistol shape with your fingers as we squeeze the upper arms in towards the ears to deepen the stretch. Give a little bit of a point of your index fingers to the right, a little bit of a side lean into the ribs and armpit and then back to center and then a little bit of a stretch and a lean to the left side. Come back to center and then surrender the elbows towards cactus arms. Feel yourself land palms to the sky. Feel free to adjust the angles of your cactus arms until you find a spot that feels restful yet still open. And we will land here in this shape for Shavasana. Begin to surrender that effort and feel as if your bones were filled with concrete, the chair supporting the legs, the earth supporting you. Stay here as long as you like and soak in the stillness. When you are ready to move, to come out of this, we're going to start to slide our legs along the chair so the knees start to come in closer to the belly. Let the arms reach up and grab a hold of the knees. Give yourself a nice big squeeze, maybe a little side to side rock to massage the back of the pelvis. Roll over to your side slowly and then begin to rise up towards a seat. And as you rise up towards your seat, take a moment to check in. How have things perhaps shifted for you from the beginning of our practice so that you can go out into the rest of your day feeling open and refreshed. Thanks so much for joining me. Namaste.


Nina G
3 people like this.
Thank you Kari - that was a lot of fun!
Jennifer E
3 people like this.
So needed this class today! Thank you thank you, Kari!
Jenny S
4 people like this.
Hi Kari 🪷🌞 This felt sooo good! I did not even realize how tight my neck and shoulders were today until I began this class…I’ve been spending a bit too much time at my desk and this was the perfect relief. This whole season has been a delight 🙏🏻❤️
Kari Sims Anthon
Nina G I am so glad you enjoyed it Nina! Thanks for practicing with me!

Kari Sims Anthon
Jennifer E I hope this brought you some relief! Hope to practice with you again soon!
Kari Sims Anthon
Jenny S Thanks so much for your sweet comment, I am so happy that you have been enjoying this season. We often dont even realize how tight we have gotten until we begin to explore! Wonderful to be with you here!
Sandra Židan
Thanks, Kari, for this interesting practice! Namaste! 💖
Pia A
1 person likes this.
Hi Kari
I was stand-up-paddling on the lake of Constance. My shoulders and neck were so tight. After your practice I felt much better. Thank you!!

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