The hunch in your shoulders and knots in your neck aren’t just uncomfortable, they also carry an orthopedic risk. Amy Ippoliti created this practice specifically to counteract the "tech neck."
The first yogis came thousands of years before the smartphone, yet sometimes yoga feels like it was invented as an antidote to technology. After hours perched over my laptop or just minutes pecking my iPhone, I need more yoga! You know what it’s like, your shoulders feel frozen in an ape-like hunch and the back of your neck ends up in a throbbing knot. “It’s enough that we have to relate to technology because it exists and we have to use it to kind of keep up with culture, but when you consider there are orthopedic risks, it adds a whole other layer,” said Amy Ippoliti in a workshop at Yoga Journal LIVE! San Diego last weekend.
Even this superstar yoga teacher and earth conservationist is no stranger to the troubles of texting. Ippoliti designed an entire iPhone counter-practice after discovering her neck had degenerative discs. “Tech neck,” when the neck droops forward and down as you post a shot to Instagram, send a text, or email the boss, puts up to an astounding 60 pounds of pressure on the upper cervical spine, research shows. That is akin to carrying 12 yoga mats or a small child on your neck.
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4 Ways to Counteract "Tech Neck"
Ippoliti suggests doing these poses throughout your day to counteract the effects of phone and laptop use. These poses lengthen the front muscles of the neck, which tend to get shortened when we hunch over a screen or a keyboard. They also realign the shoulders and upper thoracic spine, freeing the lower cervical vertebrae. Restoring a natural curve in the spine also opens the shoulders and may even ease rotator cuff and elbow pain.