Stiff Neck Solutions with Zen Yoga

ll too often, our bodies are out of alignment due to the stress in our busy lives. In particular, the neck, a vital part of the body that contains seven bony segments, endures much of the stress. Its main purpose is to support and connect the head to the base of our spine. The average human head weighs 12 to 15 pounds, with the neck as its primary support. Imagine how much additional strain is put on the neck when people do ordinary activities such as carrying laptops on one shoulder while cradling a phone with the other shoulder. Even sleeping wrong can cause a pain in the neck. Although a massage can temporarily relieve some of the pain caused to the neck, a better solution may be the practice of Zen Yoga.

[post-img]Zen Yoga, which is somewhat similar to Tai Chi, is a gentle solution that alleviates chronic pain in the neck. Its specific poses help align the neck as well the body. Zen yoga poses are part of an Oriental system that combines the practice of asanas with traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine.  Postures are categorized according to the primary meridian they affect. A meridian can be understood as similar to a blood vessel, in that it has an energetic structure that corresponds with the human body. However, a meridian is a channel that enables energy (instead of blood) to circulate throughout the body. There are 12 meridians, and they are named after the different organs of the body.  Therefore, we have the Lung meridian, large intestine meridian, heart constrictor, triple heater, liver, gall bladder, spleen, stomach, heart, small intestine, kidney, and bladder.


[b-quote]By understanding how important the energetic aspect is in Oriental philosophy, it is easier to understand how they look at the symptoms of disease, illness, or any problems we feel in our bodies. Instead of focusing on the symptom itself, Oriental diagnosis looks at what is going on in the meridians, and a healing approach is based on this instead of a rigidly defined solution for a set of symptoms. What this means in practical terms is that one person's ideal solution to a bad back or a stiff neck may be very different to another's.

Even though these exercises and poses are not vigorous, they are just as effective and perhaps much more beneficial to you than others.

Zen yoga seems more difficult in theory than it is in practice. It's actually a very fun, playful and gentle style of yoga that can readily be adapted to any level of fitness and health. Like Tai Chi, utilizing the practice of breath and meditation, Zen Yoga has great health benefits, which can be explored in more detail through classes or publications.