6 Yoga Poses for Shoulders and Neck Pain

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Does it feel like all the weight of the world has fallen on your neck and shoulders? This is not at all strange due to numerous worries and obligations and many hours of sitting at the computer in an incorrect position.

Don’t forget that all the worries of this world are fleeting and that your body was actually made to move, not to sit. Did you know that stress accumulates right in your neck and shoulders, resulting in tension and pain?

Both stress and bad posture are harmful to your health.

The first thing you start to feel after prolonged stress is tension. Then stiffness and pain in the shoulders, neck, and back appear, which greatly affect the quality of your life. However, in addition to causing pain, stress and incorrect posture also endanger the health of your internal organs, so digestive problems; poor circulation, breathing difficulties, and many other problems are also possible. The solution is within reach: proper posture, movement, and simple yoga exercises can help you take the burden off your neck and shoulders and start feeling much better about your body.

How yoga can help you

Yoga will help you learn proper body posture and change your posture forever. Correct posture involves sitting or standing in a position where your spine is elongated and your chest is open. In the correct position, the shoulders are broad and at the same time relaxed, with a wide space between the shoulder blades, while the neck is long.

Proper body position is also very important for breathing. Have you noticed how you breathe while sitting with a rounded neck and spine and “swollen” shoulders? Breathing is shallow because the chest is closed and the muscles that normally help breathing are weakened. With the help of neck and shoulder exercises that we provide below, you will open and strengthen the chest, which will allow deeper and slower breathing. If you apply these few tips, you will feel an improvement in your neck and shoulders very quickly.

6 Yoga Poses for Shoulders and Neck Pain

Yoga Poses for Neck and Shoulder Pain, stretch stiff muscles and strengthen the back and the muscles around the shoulder blades that are weakened due to improper posture. If you perform them regularly, you will be relieved of stress and filled with a new dose of energy, which will also contribute to alleviating ailments. Practice these yoga poses whenever you feel tension in your neck and shoulders. But keep in mind that you should not feel any sharp pain during the yoga poses. These yoga poses are intended for people who experience mild to moderate neck and shoulder pain. Do not perform them if you have a serious neck or shoulder injury or feel tingling in your hands. In this case, you should consult a doctor.

1. Gentle stretching of the neck in a sitting yoga pose

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Sit with your legs crossed and your spine straight and upright. Lengthen your neck and relax your shoulders and face. You can place your palms on your knees or in your lap. While sitting in the sukhasana yoga pose, take a deep breath, and with an exhalation, slowly lower your right ear towards your right shoulder.

You can increase the stretch by placing your right palm over your head, then an inhale and return to the neutral position. Take an extra breath in and out. Then inhale again, and with the exhalation, lower the left ear towards the left shoulder. Make sure your head stays in line with your shoulders. Repeat on each side five times. Extra tip: In this yoga pose, you can also circle your shoulders, first forward, then back, or raise them up and down like a shrug. This will help to slowly release tension in the shoulders as well.

2. Arm across the chest in a sitting yoga pose

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While standing or sitting, raise your right arm so that it is parallel to the mat. Send it to the left, and then with the opposite hand, pull the upper arm to the chest so that it is approximately at shoulder height. Turn your head to the opposite side of your hand, to the right. Stay in this yoga pose for 5–10 inhales and exhales, and then repeat the same with the opposite hand on the other side. This exercise nicely stretches both the neck and the outer side of the shoulders.

3.  Heart-opening yoga pose that stretches the shoulders and opens the chest (anahatasana)

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Get down on all fours, then extend your arms forward shoulder-width apart and lower your torso, i.e., your heart, to the floor. The hips should be directly above the knees. Extend your palms well forward and feel your chest opening. Breathe by focusing all your attention on your shoulders and neck. Stay in the position for as long as you feel comfortable, then lower yourself into balasana and send your arms behind you to give your shoulders some rest.

4. Sitting yoga pose + hands in gomukhasana

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Sit on your heels or between your heels (you can also sit on a brick if you can’t sit between your heels). With an inhale, raise your right hand, and with an exhale, lower the palm down the back, between the shoulder blades. To begin with, you can just gently “push” the right elbow with the left palm so that the shoulder opens. Don’t force anything.

If this variant is easy for you, bend your left hand behind your back so that you place your palm somewhere in the middle of your back and grasp the fingers of your right hand. If you can’t reach your right hand, use the strap by holding one end with your right hand and grasping the other end with your left. With the help of the strap, bring your palms as close to each other as possible. Stay in this yoga pose for at least five inhales and exhales. Then repeat this yoga psoe with the other hand.

5. Standing Forward Bend with Shoulder Opener

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In a Standing Forward Bend, intertwine your fingers behind your back and take a deep breath, opening your chest. Soften your knees, and with an exhalation, slowly bend forward and throw your hands over your head with intertwined fingers. The knees may be slightly bent. Relax your head and neck. Stay in this yoga psoe for 5–10 inhales and exhales. At the end, slowly return to a standing position while taking a breath.

6. Locust Yoga Pose

Locust Pose
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This is an excellent yoga pose for relieving tension in the neck, shoulders, and entire upper back. Lie on your stomach, intertwine your fingers behind your back, and with an inhale, lift your head, shoulders, and chest off the floor using the strength of your back muscles. You rely on the lower ribs, stomach, pelvis, and legs. Pull your hands back with your fingers interlaced so that they are parallel to the mat. The gaze is directed forward or down the nose.

In this yoga pose, you will feel your chest opening and all the tension in your neck, shoulders, and back disappearing. Stay in this yoga pose for at least 5 deep inhalations and exhalations, and with the last exhalation, lower yourself to the floor. You can enter in this yoga pose several times. A more difficult variant is to lift your arms, chest, and legs off the floor at the same time. In this way, the whole body will be active, and you will also stretch the lower part of the body.

Additional tips:

maintain proper body posture both while walking and while sitting; replace unhealthy sitting on a chair with a healthy squat as often as possible (yogic squat). Get up from your desk and take a walk as often as possible. Do light neck and shoulder stretching exercises every day.

A few more useful asanas for shoulders and neck:

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