Yoga Tips: 5 Yoga Poses to Help Relieve Shoulder and Neck Pain

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To relieve neck and shoulder stiffness through yoga, try incorporating the following asanas (poses) into your practice:

  1. Neck Rolls: Sit comfortably and slowly roll your neck in clockwise and counterclockwise circles. This gentle movement helps release tension and improves flexibility in the neck.

  2. Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana): Begin on all fours with your hands directly below your shoulders and knees below your hips. Inhale and arch your back, lifting your head and tailbone (cow pose). Exhale and round your back, tucking your chin towards your chest (cat pose). Repeat this flow several times to stretch and mobilize your spine, neck, and shoulders.

  3. Thread the Needle Pose (Parsva Balasana): Start on all fours and slide your right arm underneath your left arm, bringing your right shoulder and temple to the mat. Keep your left arm extended or bend it to deepen the stretch. Hold for several breaths and repeat on the other side. This pose helps release tension in the upper back, shoulders, and neck.

  4. Eagle Arms (Garudasana Arms): Sit or stand with a straight spine. Stretch your arms forward at shoulder height, then cross your right arm over your left. Bend your elbows and bring your palms to touch, or if possible, hook your right arm around the left. Lift your elbows while relaxing your shoulders away from your ears. Hold for a few breaths, then switch sides. This pose helps stretch and release tension in the upper back, shoulders, and neck.

  5. Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana Variation): Sit on the edge of a folded blanket or bolster. Lie back, ensuring the prop supports your head and neck. Allow your arms to rest comfortably by your sides, palms facing up. Close your eyes and relax into the pose for a few minutes. This gentle backbend helps open the chest, stretch the neck, and relieve tension in the shoulders.

Remember, it's important to listen to your body and practice within your comfort zone. If you have any existing neck or shoulder injuries, it's advisable to consult a qualified yoga instructor or healthcare professional before attempting these poses.