As I type here right now, I may as well have one of those huge white neck braces on because I can barely turn my head. I woke up with a MAJOR stiff neck. I can easily turn to the left, but forget about turning to the right. I have to move with my whole body or only turn my eyes towards the right.
Yea, you’re reading this right – the limber yoga teacher who stretches, does pranayama and works out each day has a stiff neck. But, how the heck could that be? Let me enlighten you…
Last night as I got into bed I was restless after a loooong day at the office. At the office, even though I’m the wellness director, much of my day is spent behind a desk, staring lazily at my glowing computer screen, typing away while remaining sedentary. I’m flooded with things to do (aren’t we all) and hop from one thing to the next. It can get pretty hectic, so sometimes my shoulders will shrug up towards my ears as I hunch over my keyboard while my leg shakes for minutes/hours out of nerves. My commute is a little over an hour and a half (just one way) so I’m in the car for at least 3 hours each day driving on some of the most populated highways in the tri-state area. Anyway, last night was a beautiful summer night and I’m lying in bed with both windows cracked open to the sound of the crickets. On any normal night this would lull me right off to a wonderful night’s sleep. However, for some reason my mind was filled with NEGATIVE thoughts. I was feeling stress in my chest area, couldn’t seem to relax my body and certainly couldn’t slow down my thoughts. I try taking some deep breaths…not working. I catch myself creating these stories in my head about the day…things I didn’t do, things I shouldn’t have said, blah blah blah. Finally after tossing and turning, I fall asleep and have a long night of that kind of half-awake state but deep dreaming. The content of my dreams were uncomfortable. The alarm goes off at 4:45am and I awake feeling like I didn’t sleep at all. I sit up and immediately grab my neck/shoulders and feel the shooting pain. I must have slept on it wrong, I thought.
Then I got to thinking.
I didn’t sleep on it wrong…last night my mind was consumed by negativity which paraded through the rest of my body creating stiffness, inflammation and stress!!!! This is the perfect example of what you think, you become. Well while drifting off to sleep last night my thinking was off in a totally dark direction and my body became a nervous, tension-filled wreck!
Moral of the story: Your body hears your thoughts. It hears exactly what you’re saying to yourself and the tone you’re saying it in. Tonight I’ll go to bed consciously changing the tone of my (inner) voice. I’ll speak only sweet, soft thoughts, while inviting every muscle in my body to relax.
Now, doesn’t that sound pleasant compared to last night’s rest?!
Lauren Forney HHC, RYT founder of Center Your Health, is a Holistic Health Coach and Registered Yoga Teacher based in Red Bank, NJ.