Today is my birthday…time to reflect…

I tend to reflect on my life at every birthday.  Where am I?  How am I doing? How far have I come in the last 10 years?  In the last year?

Yes there are areas that I want to address but I don’t know how to yet.  10 years ago this would have driven me crazy with anxiety.  These days I take the approach that one day I’ll just know what to do and in the meanwhile don’t worry about it.  That doesn’t mean I’m in denial; it just means I’m fine with not knowing the answer right now. To me this is awesome!  Anxiety about the future is a true burden.

Since discovering yoga and meeting a few yoga friends,  I feel I have had massive self-growth over the past year compared with many other years.  Yoga people are just happy, positive, and fun people.  Their happiness is genuine and contagious.  Meeting these people made me realize just how negative the people in my life were and that I needed to change who I was surrounding myself with.  Their influence had been dragging me down!  That is not always so easy though…  So realizing this I need to figure a way to repel the negative that some people just seem to spew.  Any advice on how to do this is indeed welcome!

I have become a lot less anxious, much more positive, and do not have neck and upper back tension pain any longer.  I used to experience awful tension pains and would have massage therapy every two weeks which barely helped but seemed like the only thing I could think of to do.  To be rid of that pain is such a relief.  It does indeed seem quite miraculous.

So as I turn 42 I am no longer concerned with the fact that I am not married and have no kids.  I am no longer concerned with being perceived by others as a “loner”, as “definitely an introvert”, or as “too sensitive”.  These are my traits and make me who I am and instead of trying to be someone else I am just going to be me and enjoy it.  I mean things could be worse right?  And who decided that these kinds of traits are not that great anyway?  Deciding I am fine as I am, (in fact great!) has brought me a lot of peace and further lowered my level of anxiety.

So here’s to another great year coming to a close and a new one about to start!


Ease neck, shoulder, and upper back tension

Hours spent at the microscope can be a literal pain in the neck for many laboratory professionals.  Pipetting can also put strain on shoulders and upper backs.  Much of corporate America sits at computers for long stretches of time.  Many workplaces are implementing ergonomic work stations to help ease some of the pain many of us encounter on the job.  While this is definitely a positive move, there are many things that we, as self health advocates, can do for ourselves.


How do we sit at work?  Are we slouching in our chairs?  Just getting into the habit of sitting up straight is a great starting point.  As you slouch, your shoulders hang forward, and your neck and upper back try to compensate.  Muscles which are not meant to maintain posture, such as smaller neck muscles end up doing jobs which they are not meant to.  They get tired; we end up with neck and upper back pain.

Stretch and strengthen

We need to stretch out the tight muscles and we need to strengthen the weak muscles.  Stretch out the chest muscles; strengthen the upper back muscles.

Yoga is great for accomplishing both of these tasks in a way which is both gentle and easy on the body.  And with yoga’s calming effect some stress may be alleviated too.  Stress is another contributor to muscle tension.

Deep breathing will help relieve neck tension.  Sit comfortably with your hands on your belly and inhale.  Feel your belly inflate; exhale and feel it fall.  Do this for 10 breaths.  Be aware of your neck muscles as well as your posture.  Sit up straight.  You can do this at your desk or at home.

“The Clock” is a pectoral or chest muscle stretch.  Stand next to a wall with your hand up on the wall above your head in a 12 o’ clock position.  Slowly move your hand to 1, 2 and 3 o’clock.  Try to keep your ribcage facing straight forward. You should feel a stretch in front of the right shoulder.  Hold for 6 breaths and then repeat with the left arm.

Arms overhead with strap can be done with a yoga strap or a belt.  Holding the strap in both hands shoulder width apart raise your arms overhead.  Your palms should face away from each other.  If you can’t straighten your arms, just move them farther apart until you can.  Now drop your chin to your chest to release your neck muscles and gently pull your arms apart from each other.  Hold for 6 breaths and repeat twice more.

Downward dog at the wall is a variation of downward dog.  Press your hands against a wall and walk your feet back until you create a table top position.  Lift your sitting bones towards the sky as you press in to the wall with your hands.  Keep your knees slightly bent.  You should feel like your heart is melting towards the ground.  Hold for 6 breaths as you focus on opening the chest and lengthening your spine.  If done correctly this pose will feel incredible!

There you have it.  A couple of poses to help ease your neck pain through the stretching and strengthen of key muscle groups.

To your health.

P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, questions, or comments.  Send me a reply below.

Disclaimer:  All articles written on Microyogi are opinions and not meant to serve as any kind of instruction for how to move your body.  I am merely writing to serve as a means of trying to find my own answers.  I am not a certified trainer or medical expert.