What it does:
Activates a series of “trigger points” along the back of the neck that contribute to tension headaches. Also good for just relaxing the neck, shoulders and upper back.
What to do:
Place a yoga mat or blanket down on the floor, someplace quiet where you won’t be disturbed. Lie down, and place a yoga block on its side, just beneath your head, and then play with positioning: You want the head and the base of the skull to rest on the block.
From here, “let gravity do the work for you,” Cruikshank says. Breathe slowly, deeply as you relax into the position, imagining your neck “draping” toward the floor. You’ll also feel the muscles start to relax and unravel.
You can enhance the stretch by gently turning your head to the right, just as far as is comfortable and resting there for a few deep breaths before returning to center. Repeat on the left side.
A few minutes at the end of a long, hard day is all you need.
Go online to see Cruikshank demonstrate this move at La Times, where you’ll also find more videos from top health and fitness experts.