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Yoga Stretches For Neck And Shoulders

Seated Shoulder Pull Stretch

Yoga For Neck and Shoulder Pain – Safe and Easy Stretches for Beginners

This stretch works not only on the top part of your shoulder, but areas of your neck as well, where a large muscle called the trapezius runs. You can easily deepen the stretch in your neck by gently tilting it to the side.

Stretches: Deltoids, pectorals, upper trapezius

How to do Seated Shoulder Pull Stretch:

  • Start in a comfortable seated position with a tall spine.
  • Bring your arms behind your back and grab your right wrist or hand with your left.
  • Drop your shoulders and lift through your chest.
  • Gently begin to pull your right arm towards your left until you feel a stretch.
  • To get a stretch in your neck as well, tilt your head to the left until you feel a stretch.
  • Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the other side.
  • /8ustrasana Or Camel Pose

    Step 1: Kneel down on the ground with your legs stretched at the back

    and put both your hands on your hips.

    Step 2: Take a deep breath and draw your tailbone towards your pubis.

    Step 3: At the same time bend your back to form an arch and place your palms on your feet for support.

    Step4: Keep your hands erect and do not put pressure on your neck.

    Step 5: Breathe in and out while holding this pose for 5-10 seconds.

    Physical Therapy Or Yoga For Neck And Shoulder Pain

    As yoga becomes more normalized in the West, its benefits for recovery are being recognized in conventional medicine and more doctors are integrating the practice into treatment for patients. Among physical therapists this is especially true and many are prescribing yoga in addition to standard physical therapy. In a recent medical study published by, researchers found yoga to be as effective in pain recovery as physical therapy.This is promising evidence for skeptics and believers of yoga alike who are using this ancient and time-tested system for recovery. In both physical therapy and yoga asana, we want to support the body in recovery and at the same time, prepare it for prevention. We do this by reconditioning with the appropriate balance of stretching and strengthening the muscles.Creating a flow that alternates between Cobra and Childs Pose is an excellent way to gently recover and strengthen the neck and shoulders. If it doesnt add to your pain or injury, add a modified Chaturanga when transitioning from childs pose back to cobra.

    I suggest knees-chest-chin pose, Ashtanga Namaskar. In this Vinyasa of Cobra will open the chest, neck and shoulders, while strengthening the arms and back. Countering with Childs Pose will stretch the spine, neck and shoulders. Transitioning with Knees-Chest-Chin will strengthen and tone the abs, arms, shoulders and back.Try taking a few rounds of this daily to manage neck and shoulder pain and to prevent future injury.

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    How To Get The Best Results

    Shoulder work is a foundation for nearly all hatha yoga poses. Lengthening the chronically short muscles in the inner arm and chest establishes better alignment in the shoulders and frees you of fatigue and painful spasms in your upper back. When your shoulder joints are aligned, they enjoy their fullest range of motion. Your chest feels broad and open, and the lower tips of your shoulder blades stay firmly and comfortably in place on your back.

    If you take a quick inventory of your body as you progress with these three easy stretchesthe chest opener with the arms clasped behind the back, the upward-facing plank, and the standing stretch near a wallyoull notice that the muscles between the shoulder blades and the spine feel broad and lightly toned. Your arms hang easily at your sides with a slight outward rotation, maintaining the feeling of breadth across your upper chest. Your head turns from side to side without difficulty, and you experience greater freedom when you extend your arms to the side and overhead. When your arms are stretched overhead in warrior I, for example, you will feel the inner edges of your shoulder blades release downward as your chest opens. There will be no bunching up of the muscles at the base of your neck. These are all signs of progress, signs that you are dissolving the chronic pain in your upper back and creating space for a more fruitful asana practice.

    This article originally appeared in the Sept/Oct 2006 issue of Yoga International

    Forward Fold With Chest & Shoulder Stretch

    12 Yoga Poses to Eliminate Neck Pain

    As noted in the previous pose, using your own body weight in conjunction with the force of gravity can move you deeper into stretches. This stretch works to release the shoulders and chest . Heres how to do it:Start in the previous forward fold, but this time, interlace your fingers behind your back and work toward straightening your arms as much as possible over your head. Reach your arms first straight up and then allow them to surrender with gravity towards the front of your mat.

    Draw your shoulder blades toward each other and broaden your chest. Allow your torso and your head to be heavy and relaxed. Hold for about one minute.

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    How To Stretch And Open The Chest

    Hatha yoga poses are powerful tools to stretch and open the chest. However, we must be attentive to some simple details to ensure that these hatha yoga poses properly target the problem. One of the most common stretches for the upper chest, for example, is often performed incorrectly. In this stretch the hands are clasped behind the body, and the arms are drawn away from the back to stretch the fronts of the shoulders. But if you are not careful, the very muscles you are trying to stretch can cause the arms to become misaligned, further straining the shoulders.

    To perform the stretch correctly, bend your elbows and interlace your fingers behind you, separating the palms of your hands. Keeping the elbows bent, lift and square your shoulders then draw your shoulders back, moving your elbows toward each other so that your upper arms are parallel. Flexible people will be tempted to straighten the arms and hyperextend the elbows, but this is a temptation to resist, since it reduces the effectiveness of the stretch. The proper action of squaring the shoulders, bending the elbows, and bringing the upper arms parallel will rotate the upper arms outward, opening the space between your upper chest and the fronts of your shoulder joints. Moreover, the arm bones will hug the shoulder joints, protecting your rotator cuff muscles.

    Whats The Best Shoulder Stretches For Pain

    Thread the Needle Pose is an excellent posture to practice to stretch and relieve the shoulders. As an inversion, its extra restorative as it supports blood flow back towards the heart and activates the parasympathetic nervous system. Additionally, the twisting movement of the posture gives a gentle massage to the internal abdominal organs, encouraging detox and assisting digestion.Explore two variations of thread the needle to find which one brings you the best relief in your practice. One option is to raise the unthreaded arm to the sky, opening through the chest and finding a deeper stretch in the sides of the body. Alternatively, you can leave the arm on the mat, extending it in front of the body and away from the armpit for a deep stretch in the shoulder.

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    Child’s Pose Spinal Waves

  • Start in a child’s pose position, with your knees wide, your hips sitting back, arms stretching forward, and your torso resting over your thighs.
  • Round your chin in toward your chest. Curl your tailbone under and roll forward into cat pose.
  • Allow your shoulders to go slightly past your wrist, drop the belly down, draw the shoulder blades back into cow pose.
  • Then draw your body all the way back into child’s pose.
  • Continue flowing in one fluid movement, through each phase, for eight times total. Move on to the next pose.
  • Gary Kraftsows Viniyoga Therapy Helps You Relieve Stress And Tension In The Neck Shoulders And Back And Shows You How To Adapt Poses For Healing

    Yoga Stretches for Neck and Shoulder Pain

    Modern technology offers countless benefitsits an ever-growing source of information and inspiration it keeps us easily connected to our loved ones. But the fact remains, many of us spend hours sitting in front of our computers and hunched over our mobile phones and tablets, and the repetitive movement patterns these digital devices demand can cause neck and shoulder strain. Learning to move in ways that realign our posture helps release that tension and promotes more functional movement patterns. The following sequence will help you ease your neck and shoulder pain.

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    Standing Forward Bend Table Top Variation

    Standing tabletop is our next stretch to open the back of the shoulders and release tension in the neck. Use blocks to bring the ground closer to the palms so that the arms and legs can be fully extended. Just like in regular table top position, you want to have the wrists below the shoulders and the knees below the hips.

    Spread the fingers wide and press into all parts of the hands, really pressing away from the earth and feel the shoulders open wide across the back, lifting out of the armpits. Press the hips back, lengthen the spine from the tailbone, through the sides of the body and allow the neck to be an extension of the spine. Breathe for 10 breaths.

    Yoga Poses For Neck And Shoulders Pain

    These 7 beginner-friendly yoga poses are specially chosen because they allow you to target and release muscle tension in your back, shoulders, and neck. Ease into each stretch slowly and focus on your breathing, body position, and muscle activation to get the most out of each stretch!

    Exercise 1: Thread The Needle

    This restorative posture stretches the muscles of the rotator cuff, traps, and rhomboids the shoulder muscles, neck muscles that can cause discomfort in your shoulders if there is excessive tightness.


  • Start in Childs pose with your knees wider than your shoulders, big toes touching, and hips shifted back toward your heels. Keep arms and torso long.
  • Slide your left arm under your right arm between the right hand and right knee, palm facing up.
  • Press the back of your arm into the floor, and lightly pull it back to the left to stretch the left shoulder.
  • Hold the posture, inhaling as you expand your chest, and exhaling as you deepen the shoulder stretch.
  • Repeat on the other side.
  • Modifications: If this stretch is difficult, try it standing, instead. Bring one arm straight across the body, wrap the opposite forearm around the triceps, and lightly pull your arm to the side to stretch the upper back and shoulder.

    Exercise 2: Wide-Legged Forward Fold 2 strap behind back


  • Stand with your feet 4 to 6ft apart, and slightly turn your toes inward. Engage the arches of your feet, and press into outer edges of feet.
  • Exercise 3: Standing Side Bend


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    Combat Tech Neck Heres How

    Obviously, the more the head weighs, the more strain it causes in the surrounding muscles and the body as a whole. The best way to counter the effects of tech neck is to minimize them in the first place. Try your best to hold your devices at head-level and keep your spine in a neutral position when looking at any screens.

    But, when youre already feeling the pain of poor posture in your body, luckily yoga can help!

    How Neck Stretches Can Help Headaches

    Yoga fro Shoulders and Neck

    Recent research studies have confirmed that yoga is an effective therapy for improving headaches, but what has long been known is that posture is one of the most common reasons for headaches. Could poor posture be the underlying culprit of yours? Regular yoga practice is excellent for improving posture because it doesnt simply stretch and strengthen the body to encourage good posture, it also flexes the mind and creates a greater sense of self-awareness that allows you to notice and correct your posture when it begins triggering a symptom. Shoulder stand and plow pose are two postures that go well when practiced in sequence together, beginning with shoulder stand and transitioning to plow. They both offer a stretch in the back of the neck, in the shoulders and through the top of the spine. Additionally, they engage the core muscles of the spine and abdominals, strengthening the bodys ability to support itself in proper posture. These poses can help relieve pain and headaches, but are not recommended if you are suffering from migraines or a neck injury. Practice mindfully, making sure to allow the weight of the body to be supported by the shoulders and arms and not with compression on the neck.

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    Common Neck Pain Causes

    When clients have sore neck muscles or a stiff neck, it impacts their ability to workout. Some of the most common causes of neck pain include:

    • Overuse-related neck muscle pain. Spending a lot of time hunched forward can strain neck muscles. Working long hours at a computer results in this type of neck pain. Hunching over while reading or playing on your phone has the same effect.
    • Aged or deteriorating neck joints. Over time, joints in the body begin to wear down. Neck joints are no exception. In some cases, they may actually begin to deteriorate. This can result in continuous neck pain.
    • Compression of nerves in the neck. The spine houses our spinal cord. So, if the spine is out of place, vertebrae can compress on nerves extending from the spinal cord. This can create pain in the neck. Sometimes these compressions occur in the cervical spine . Other times they are in the thoracic spine and the pain radiates upward.
    • Suffering a neck injury. Auto accidents and slip and falls can cause injury to the neck. Collisions occurring in a sports match can also instigate neck pain.
    • Being diagnosed with a certain disease. There are some diseases in which neck pain is a symptom. Among them are rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and meningitis.

    Poor posture can also lead to increased neck pain. Spine-Health reports that holding the head forward one inch in a poor posture position places 10 pounds of pressure on the cervical spine.

    Hours In Front Of A Computer Can Hurt Your Body

    Multiple swims at a major competition, hours spent watching television, or overtime in front of a computer can leave your neck and shoulders crying for relief. These three yoga poses, or asanas, downward-facing dog, feet-spread-intense-stretch posture, and the back lift work in different ways to soothe neck and shoulder discomfort.

    For best results, perform these asanas after a series of sun salutations or a bout of aerobic activity when muscles are warm and more flexible. The no pain, no gain philosophy should be discarded when practicing yoga. Muscle lengthening and a burn in the working muscles is normal, but you shouldnt feel pain in your spine or joints.

    For the first two asanas, move into a comfortable expression of the pose and then remain there for five to 10 slow breaths. Follow the specific instructions for the back lift, which is a somatic movement activity and performed differently than the other two.

    Breath, or pranayama, is the most vital component of yoga and should always lead the way when moving into and sustaining a posture. Breathe long and slow and smooth, feeling expansion in your abdomen, rib cage, and chest. Notice the subtleties of the breath. Taking deep breaths will help you become more aware of breath quality and how proper alignment enables you to take longer, more restorative breaths.

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    What Are The Best Stretching Exercises For Neck And Shoulders

    In this sequence Im going to show you a fantastic set of stretches for your neck and shoulders that you can use after a nice workoutor even to help with pain or recovery.

    Whether you use these stretches to compliment your workout or to support recovery, youll be improving your flexibility, opening the body where we often hold our stress and tension, and as a result of opening physically, youll very likely experience a greater sense of openness and calm in your mood and energy as well.

    Thread The Needle Pose

    Yoga For Neck and Shoulder Pain Relief – 5 Easy Neck Stretches

    This pose helps to relieve tension in your neck, shoulders, and back.

  • Start on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  • Lift your right hand and move it over to the left along the floor with your palm facing up.
  • Press your left hand into the floor for support as your rest your body on your right shoulder and look over to the left.
  • Remain in this position for 30 seconds.
  • Slowly release, sink back into Childs Pose for a few breaths, and repeat on the other side.
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    Easy Stretches For Neck And Shoulder Pain Video

    4 Easy Stretches for Neck and Shoulder Pain

    Flexion Stretch

  • Keeping the shoulders back, bring the chin toward the chest by bending the head straight forward. A slight stretch will be felt in the back of the neck.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Lateral Flexion Stretch

  • Start in an upright, standing position.
  • Keeping the shoulders even, bring one ear toward the shoulder by bending the head to one side. A slight stretch will be felt in the side of the neck.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds then repeat on the other side.
  • Levator Scapula Stretch

  • Stand straight, raise the right hand and elbow, and place it on a nearby wall or door jamb.
  • While keeping everything else still, rotate the head to the left about 45° .
  • Tilt the chin downward to the left collarbone until a good stretch is felt on the back right side of the neck.
  • Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, or as tolerated. Repeat on the other side.
  • Corner Stretch


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