Stretching serves to relax - release the tension from the muscles. Gentle stretching exercises act like a relaxation program for body and soul. Today I would like to introduce you to some simple exercises that can relax your neck, shoulders and jaw muscles.
The neck, often tense from sitting for long periods of time, strained posture or stress, can be wonderfully relaxed by loosely dropping your chin to your sternum, simply letting it fall without force or effort, breathing deeply in and out and feeling and releasing the stretch in the neck area with each breath. Now gently let your head circle from left to right, as if you were brushing your chin along a chain around your neck. Slowly come back to the center and straighten your head. Now drop your left ear to the left shoulder, again gently, without pressure and most importantly, the shoulder stays down, the ear wants to go to the shoulder, not the other way around. Same on the left side...feel the gentle stretch in the lateral neck muscles?
The shoulders- a constant issue in stressful situations- because we, mostly unconsciously, pull them up, causing tension in the entire upper body region. Place your right and left hands on your equilateral shoulders and paint large circles in the air with your elbows. This is a wonderful exercise for the upper back, shoulders and chest. Then release your hands again and circle your shoulders back loosely. Imagine your arms are softly cooked spaghetti, dangling loosely and relaxed next to your body, with only your shoulders in motion- up, way back, and low back down.
The muscles of the teeth also suffer from stress and tension. The old familiar saying "clench your teeth" is often taken too literally and applied too often, which inevitably leads to tension in the jaw muscles and joints. Many people process their daily experiences at night and about 30% of humanity belongs to the "species" of teeth grinder, also called bruxism. A very simple exercise for daily use: observe yourself and as soon as you notice your jaw muscles are tense- consciously relax, open your mouth slightly and draw small figure eights with your lower jaw.