How to Reduce Neck Strain in Pilates
The shoulder blades going down provide the leverage for our upper spine, neck, and head to lift up. If your shoulders are up around your ears, chances are your head and neck are jammed in too close to your torso. Pull the shoulders down and you should feel your head shoot up another inch or two closer to the ceiling and tightness through the neck reduce.
Where your tongue is placed in your mouth can make a difference! Lightly touch the tip of the tongue to the roof of your mouth on your inhale, and drop the tongue away from the roof of your mouth on your exhale. This helps facilitate the proper use of the diaphragm, and as the tongue drops on the exhale, you may notice that the muscles in the front of the neck soften and relax a bit.
Effective use of the pelvic floor provides the anchoring at the base of the spine which is necessary for lift and lengthening that occurs during breathing. Without an active, engaged pelvic floor, it’s impossible to get the ribs to lift away from the pelvis, the neck to lift away from the torso, and the head to lift away from the neck. How do you effectively find and use the Pelvic Floor? If you’re not already familiar with using your Pelvic Floor, check out this post.