People tend to hold a lot of tension in their neck and shoulders, which causes the neck muscles to tighten and feel short. This is usually caused by the tendency to scrunch your shoulders up around your ears when tense. Releasing this tension will create a feeling of spaciousness and the illusion of length in your neck. Perform gentle neck stretches and exercises every day to keep your neck long and strong.
Easy Neck Stretch
Working in front of a mirror will help you align your neck and shoulders properly to get the most benefit from this stretch. Sit up straight in a chair and look in a mirror. Position the neck so that it is directly straight over your shoulders. Your chin should be level and parallel to the floor. Lift the neck up high and imagine that you are stretching your neck up to the ceiling. Hold the neck stretched up for three to five seconds. Do five to 10 reps.
Yoga can help relax tight and shortened neck muscles. You are often told to hold your neck in a "long neck" position during yoga poses. The Downward Facing Dog pose is a good exercise to lengthen your neck because your body is inverted and gravity will help pull it down. Begin on all fours and then lift your hips into the air as you straighten your legs. Your body will resemble an upside "V." Hold your neck in line with your spine and arms. Squeeze your abs and flatten your back. Pull your shoulder blades down your back. This will help get your neck into a straight alignment and help it lengthen. Hold for five deep breaths or at least 30 seconds.
Isometric Neck Exercises
Perform isometric exercises that will build strength and release tension in the neck. Keep your head in a chin level position. Place your hands on your forehead and push forehead against your palms. Push back equally hard with your hands so that your neck stays in a stationary position. Hold for five seconds. Do this three times. Interlace your fingers behind your head and push backwards against your palms. Hold for five seconds and do this three times. Place your right hand against the right side of your head above your ear. Press against your right palm. Do the same on the left side.