When I teach my new students to free their necks, they always try to do something and end up with a sore neck.
What the heck does it mean to free the neck? It means to release the neck from needless holding and tension. What does that mean? Well, you know what the opposite feels like. You know what a stiff neck feels like. You know what a tight neck feels like. You know what a compressed neck feels like. Well, a free neck is the opposite of that.
So one path to a free neck is to gently tell yourself, “I am not tensing my neck.” Or, “I am not tightening my neck.” Or, “I am not compressing my neck.”
So how gentle should this direction be? As gentle as wishing that next Sunday will be sunny so you can have a picnic. You’re not going to try to do anything to make next Sunday sunny. It’s just a gentle wish.
The more gently and lightly you give yourself directions, the more effective they will be (Robert Rickover).