Unfortunately, neck and shoulder pain are common issues amongst adults – particularly those who spend their working day at a desk. While popping a few painkillers can work short-term, it’s important to address the root cause to enjoy a pain-free future. Often, neck and shoulder pain are the result of tension in the back, neck, and shoulders. Thankfully, the key to health and happiness could be as simple as putting on your yoga top! Through yoga, we can remove and prevent this tension and find relief from neck and shoulder pain. In this article, we explore yoga for neck and shoulder pain in more detail.
The first posture to release tension in the neck and shoulders is Downward Dog. To practice this pose, stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend at the waist and slowly lower your torso forward until your hands are on the mat. Your hands and feet should now be securely on the ground. If your shoulders or hamstrings feel too tight for the asana, try bending your knees slightly to make the posture easier. Spread your fingers for additional balance and move your head forward until it is in between your upper arms. You are in Downward Dog. For best results, breathe deeply throughout the pose and hang your head gently between your shoulders.
Ear to Shoulders Rolls are another great way to remove tension. To practice the exercise, sit comfortably on your chair with your shoulders relaxed and your spine straight. When you’re comfortable, draw your chin into your chest and move your right ear towards your right shoulder. To deepen the stretch, place your right hand on your left ear and apply gentle pressure. After 5 breaths, switch to the opposite side. Stretching both the neck and shoulder muscles, ear to shoulder rolls are a simple and quick way to remove tension.
To practice Shoulder Rolls, sit or stand tall with your spine straight. Draw both shoulders towards your ears before pushing them back and bringing them down towards to ground. Bring them back forwards before repeating the rotation as many times as you feel comfortable. To mix up the exercise, try rotating your shoulders in the opposite direction.
To practice Arm Across Chest Pose, find a comfortable position on the floor or on a chair. Sit tall with your spine straight and your neck lengthened. With your shoulders relaxed, reach your right arm out in front of you before bringing it across your chest. Finally, turn your head to look over your right shoulder. You are in Arm Across Chest Pose. Hold the pose for 10 controlled breaths before repeating on the opposite side. Working to stretch both the neck and shoulders, this posture is a simple yoga exercise to relieve neck pain.
To practice Thread the Needle Pose, begin on all fours with your knees under your hips. Next, slowly walk your left hand forward until you can comfortably thread your right arm underneath it. You should now be able to gently rest your right cheek and shoulder on the mat. You are in Thread the Needle Pose. Hold the pose for approximately 10 breaths before repeating the technique on the opposite side.
To practice Forward Fold, stand tall with your feet directly under your hips. Gently hinge forward at the waist and begin to lower your upper body toward the floor. To ensure pressure on the lower back is minimised, remember to bend your knees generously throughout the asana. Next, take hold of your ankles and let your body hang naturally toward the ground. You are in Forward Fold. Hold the posture for 1 minute whilst breathing deeply. To increase the stretch, gently sway your torso or head from side to side.
To practice Child’s Pose, begin by kneeling on the mat. Next, inhale and sit back on your heels. As you breathe out, walk your hands out in front of you until your chest is touching the ground. If it’s comfortable, rest your forehead on the mat and relax your arms by your sides. You are in Child’s Pose. Hold the asana for around 30 seconds.
Inducing a state of deep relaxation, Resting Pose can help relieve tension in the neck and shoulders. Better still, the pose is super easy to practice! All you need to do is lie down on your back and relax your arms by your sides. If practised at the end of your session, Easy Pose can be used to reflect on the sequence and relax the mind before heading home.
To reduce pain and discomfort in the neck and shoulders, practice the above yoga postures for neck and shoulder pain. To keep your muscles warm, wear a cosy yoga hoodie on your way to the studio. Not only will this keep you toasty, but it will also prevent strains and sprains on the mat.