Relieve neck and shoulder pain with these yoga poses.
It’s common to experience neck and shoulder pain when you’re under stress. Or, maybe you just slept funny or overdid it in your workout routine. For some, the pain may be so severe that it is difficult to even turn your head.
Fortunately, there are some easy yoga stretches that, when done regularly, can help relieve and possibly even ward off the tightness in your neck and shoulders. No matter the cause of the pain, the below moves can help relieve the pressure and get you back to feeling normal in no time.
By Sarah Stevenson
Arm Across Chest Pose
Sit comfortably on the floor or on a chair with your spine straight, neck elongated, and shoulders in a relaxed position. Reach the right arm out so it is at shoulder height and bring it across the chest toward the left side of your body. Turn your gaze to look over your right shoulder. This pose will stretch the neck and back of the shoulders. Hold for approximately 8-10 breaths then switch sides.
Thread the Needle Pose
Begin in a tabletop position, with your knees aligned with your hips. Walk the left hand forward as far as you can and thread the right arm under it. Rest your right shoulder and your right cheek on the mat. Close your eyes and relax into the pose as it gently stretches the shoulders, arms, upper back, and neck. Hold this pose for approximately 8-10 breaths. Switch sides and repeat.
Stand or sit comfortably with your spine straight and your neck comfortably elongated. Reach out both arms so they’re at shoulder width and height. Bend the right arm up towards the head and sweep the left arm under the right. Bend and wrap the left arm around the right one. If the palms don’t touch, grasp the wrist of the right arm with your left hand. Breathe deeply. Lower your shoulders away from your ears, gently pull the hands away from the face, and slowly turn your gaze over the left shoulder. Hold the pose for at least five breaths and work up to 10 breaths. Switch sides and repeat.
Hand To Elbow/Cow Face Arms
Begin this pose by sitting or standing comfortably with a straight spine. Reach the right arm up, bend the elbow, and drop your right hand between the shoulder blades. Place your left hand on the right elbow and press gently to intensify the stretch. This pose stretches the front of the shoulders, triceps, and the back of the neck. Hold the pose for five to seven breaths. Switch sides and repeat.
Backward Hand Clasp
Stand with your feet hip width apart. Interlace your fingers behind you and press your palms together. Lift the arms as high as you can until you feel the stretch in the front of your shoulders. Hold the pose for eight to 10 breaths.
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All photography by Sarah Stevenson.