September 19, 2021

What Texting Does to Your Neck—And 7 Yoga Sequences to Fix It

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Spring is here, and it feels like things are looking up. We should be, too—looking up, that is.

When you’ve been hunkered down for a while, the body can start to take on a “hunkered down” posture: shoulders slouched, back rounded, and head bowed. You may be inadvertently training your neck and back to curve by constantly looking down at the phone (hello, tech neck!), being bent over a computer, or slouching on the sofa while bingeing your favorite Netflix series. (Have you watched Lupin, by the way? Highly recommended.) Even driving can contribute to a postural habit that encourages the shoulders to round and the head to bow forward.

One problem here: Your head is heavy. That’s 10–11 pounds you’re carrying on the stalk of your neck—if you’re standing perfectly upright. Every inch your head that dips forward adds more weight and pressure on the spine.

That slouch can lead to what orthopedic experts call hyperkyphosis—an excessive curvature of the thoracic spine. At the torso, the spine naturally curves 20–45 degrees. Anything beyond that results in roundback, or worse, hunchback. As your anatomy works overtime to counter this posture, there’s additional stress on your discs, muscles, joints, ligaments, and spinal nerves. In severe cases, it can cause pain, spinal deformity, and breathing problems.

For this reason, we want to urge our bodies to hold and move in positions that keep our spine in alignment—following its natural curves and supporting the head in a healthy way. In addition to averting the physiological issues, a shoulders-back, heart-lifted stance signals confidence.

To develop a stronger, more stable posture, try these sequences focused on your neck and shoulders:

7 Yoga Sequences for Better Posture
The hunch in your shoulders and knots in your neck aren’t just uncomfortable, they carry an orthopedic risk. Amy Ippoliti created this practice to counteract “tech neck.”

Whether you’re working at the office or at home, these desk-friendly poses will help strengthen, lengthen and support your spine.

Practicing these rejuvenating postures can help you thrive at work. Try this quick sequence right at your desk.

This 20-minute Iyengar Yoga sequence video is ideal for a stiff neck. You’ll need a couple of blocks, your mat, and a quiet corner—at the office or home.

Here, simple techniques that combine stretching and myofascial pressure points to release neck and shoulder tension. You’ll need a few tennis balls, a small roller, and a wall.

Photo: Gabrielle MarcheseIn this sequence, yoga teacher Gabrielle Marchese guides you through a gentle series of postures that offer quick, soothing relief from headaches and neck pain.

Try this brief sequence during your workday, or any day, to relieve shoulder stress.