Neck and Shoulder Pain Relief
In yin yoga, when we pull and pressurize our connective tissues by putting our bodies into yin yoga postures, we stimulate the flow of energy along meridian pathways. This allows the flow of chi to be strong and mobile. The belief is that it is through the connective tissue that the chi is being moved along the meridian pathways. When we practice yin yoga, we remove the blockages of chi stagnation and increase the flow of chi. One of the main sites of chi stagnation in our bodies are the joints. This probably comes as no surprise to you because the joints are a common area for injury and pain in our human body.
Today we are focusing on our shoulders and neck. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, when there is not enough qi and blood flow in an area, there is an imbalance between yin and yang. This stagnation of energy causes pain. When chi and blood flow freely in the body, there is no pain. However when it becomes inhibited in sites like the shoulders and neck, we experience pain.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine there are different kinds of pain that result from different causes of qi and blood flow problems. The pain that we experience in our upper back, our shoulders and neck in particular are often caused by interior heat which rises through the meridian channels and get stuck in the neck, shoulders and head causing tension in the muscles.
When we practice yin yoga, we come into the shape, remembering this is not an aesthetic practice and find an appropriate edge. We want sensation, but we don´t want it to be sensational. When finding an appropriate edge we can reflect on our intention to keep allow for the smooth flow of chi in our body to avoid chi stagnation and pain. A too strong edge or pushing too hard in your yin yoga pose can block the flow of chi and actually be counterproductive to your objective of lessening pain in your shoulders and neck.
Secondly when we practice yin yoga we stay for longer in order to affect the deeper connective tissues which are more dense and less pliant than muscle. Slow, long held traction of dense and less pliant tissues that wrap around the joints helps to coax chi and blood through these dense and less pliant tissues. This in turn helps to reduce pain.
Finally we soften our muscles and become still. Again, if our muscles are stiff or activated then it is difficult to get into the deeper connective tissue and chi and blood will remain stagnant. When we become still and soften our muscles we create a clear pathway for chi and blood to flow through our body, pain can be relieved and vitality restored.