Achy from Studying?

Four Yoga Poses to Relieve Pain

KAITLYN SZILAGYI, Health & Beauty Editor

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While midterms may be over, classes are still in session, leaving students spending hours hunched over notebooks, laptops, and textbooks. This hunching can cause neck, back, and shoulder pain, but a few, simple yoga poses can help to cope with this pain.

“Cow Face Arms,” a modification of cow pose, requires one to kneel. While kneeling, reach the right arm to the ceiling, bend the right elbow, and let the right hand fall between the shoulder blades. Reach with the left hand, and take hold of the right elbow. Hold this pose for five inhalations and exhalations. This pose opens up the chest and shoulders.

In a “standing forward fold with a shoulder opener,” a modification of standing forward bend, one must clasp their hands behind their back, soften through the knees, and bend forward. Stay in this position for five to ten breaths. This pose maintains strength and stability of the spine, while also relieving tension in the neck, back, and shoulders.

“Thread the Needle” requires some space. While on hands and knees, reach the right arm under your body, so your right shoulder and temple release towards the ground. The left hand can stay where it is. Hold this pose for ten breaths, and then repeat on the other side. Thread the needle benefits the body and eases pain by opening the upper and outer shoulder muscles.

Last, Downward Facing Dog is a commonly practiced yoga pose that engages the entire body. Starting on hands and knees (hands should rest beneath the shoulders and knees beneath the hips), curl the toes under and press against the balls of the feet. Then lift the hips back toward the ceiling until the body makes the shape of an upside down letter “V.” Again, hold this pose for at least five inhalations and exhalations. While engaging various muscles throughout the entire body, this pose also elongates the spine and releases tension in the back. “Downward facing dog” also strengthens the arms, shoulders, and back while working to relieve back pain.

Physical therapy paraprofessional and professor Lauri Nemetz instructs a free yoga course every Wednesday in the Goldstein Fitness Center aerobics room. Nemetz recommends practicing any poses that open up the shoulders in order to relieve tension in the neck, shoulders, and back. She also recommends posing in “down dog,” modified by leaning against a wall so that the weight of the body is taken off of the wrists and shoulders.

“Get up and move around every twenty minutes or so,” she recommended for students who spend several hours doing homework or studying, “because it is important for the body to move and get out of that position.”

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