Neck Rolls release tension and stress in the neck and face. Often, a child holds a lot of tension in these areas. Tension builds over time, leading to agitation and perseveration. This posture invigorates the neck and will help make your child aware of this area of his body. Neck Rolls is a relatively easy pose for a beginner to master. Neck Rolls are particularly effective for children with ASDs because they release tension that they may not recognize that they have.
Usually, modification of the pose is not necessary. Remember to have the child make his head move slowly and smoothly. He should not stretch his neck to the point of pain. He may visualize his head as a ripe fruit (head) on a stem (neck). Then, the fruit may gently rotate around on the stem so that all sides of the fruit are exposed to the sun.
1. Sit cross-legged at the front of your mat. Sit on a pillow or stool if necessary to elevate the hips and make you more comfortable.
2. Relax the shoulders and sit quietly.
3. Slowly begin to tilt the neck to the right, so your right ear is over your right shoulder (Figure 2.9).
4. Try to keep your shoulders down and feel the stretch on the left side of your neck. Only stretch as far as is comfortable.
5. Hold for one count and then release your head backward with your face pointed upward. Imagine your face as fruit looking toward the sun and gathering its energy. Keep your eyes closed and focus on the feeling of your throat stretching and opening (Figure 2.10).
6. Hold for a moment and then roll the head to the left, stretching out the right side of the neck. Keep your shoulders down, relax your face, and close your eyes (Figure 2.11).
7. Continue rolling your head to the right and let your head drop to your chest for a moment to stretch the back of the neck (Figure 2.12). These movements are one round of Neck Rolls.
8. Pick your head up and look straight ahead. You and your child should try to think about how your necks and heads feel. You will probably feel freedom and openness in your necks.
9. Do Neck Rolls twice more to the right, and then switch directions going to the left side. Do three Neck Rolls for this side. When finished, lift your head and stand at the front of your mat.
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