I tend to watch more TV in winter. Colder nights make me want to cuddle up and be entertained! After some cosy nights I wake with a tight neck and shoulders from being in the same position for too long. If you work at a desk and especially from home a tight neck and shoulders might be something you have regularly. A tight neck and shoulders can lead to headaches, lethargy and tiredness and interrupted sleep. So what can we do about it?

The antidote to tight muscles is movement, sound simple? It is. If the tightness is not chronic then movement like a brisk walk (swinging your arms), a dance in the lounge room or a light weight session with good form can bring fresh circulation into muscles. As the muscles warm up and take in fresh blood the tight fibres can release and let go.

Breath is a key to releasing tension. Movement that encourages deep abdominal breathing will help to release neck and shoulder tension.

If there is tension in other parts of the body this can contribute to neck and shoulder tension. For example tension in the diaphragm can lock the ribs and restrict breath. Limited mobility in the ribs can affect the way the collar bones sit and how the scapula (shoulder blade) glides over the back of the ribcage, this can result in neck and shoulder tension.

Here are some ideas for nourishing movement to help release tension in your upper body, neck and shoulders:

Elbow breathing

Stand tall, feet hip width apart. Bring your finger tips to your shoulders. As you inhale draw your shoulder forward and then up over your shoulders and let them fall apart, open your chest. As you exhale let your elbows fall gently down and forward bringing your elbows together in front of you as you round and broaden through the back of the ribs. Repeat at least 4 times.

Your head is a ball

Stand tall, feet hip width apart. Imagine your head is a ball balancing on the top of your neck. Keep your neck steady and still, as you drop your chin let the base of your skull slide back and up. As you lift your chin, keeping your neck steady and still, let the base of your skull slide forward and down towards the top of your neck. Let your head glide like a ball rolling on top of your neck.

Jaw release

Stand tall, feet hip width apart. Move your head to look side to side, take note of how your neck feels. Bring your left hand up and over your head to touch your jaw joint on the right hand side of your head (just in front of your right ear). Take your right hand to the same place. Begin to press gently into the jaw joint and slide your right hand down towards your jaw as you slide your left hand up towards your temple. Repeat 6- 8 times getting deeper and find different pathways for your fingers to stroke way from the join. Then relax and move your head to look side to side again. See if you have more movement in your right side. Then do the same on your left side.

I am a movement and Pilates teacher based in Lennox Head where I have a fully equipped Pilates studio. My studio has now reopened! I love working with clients to recover from injury, reduce pain and gain strength and body confidence. Check out more information about my Pilates equipment classes and contact me on the details below to discuss how I can help you .

Tight neck and shoulders?

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