Yoga Can Release that Pain in Your Neck

Neck pain. It’s a common affliction of our current lifestyles, caused by sitting at a desk and looking at our various devices, as well as stress, unhealthy sleeping patterns, and recovering from auto accidents.

As a yoga instructor, I am often asked about how to relieve neck tension that has been caused by any or all of these factors and when I ask where students want the most relief in their bodies, it is the number one spot that is mentioned.

There are many ways to alleviate this tension, such as massage, awareness of the habits causing it and making the proper changes to posture, pillows, and lifestyle, however, yoga can also help.

Here are 4 poses I recommend for people to do on a daily basis –

Child’s Pose (Balasana) – Sit back on your heels with your knees open to the edges of your mat and extend your arms straight out in front of you with hands gently pressed to the mat. Connect to your breath and feel the tension gradually ease out of your neck, shoulders, and spine…allowing a softening into the pose and holding anywhere from 30 seconds to a few minutes. You can even add a blanket or bolster between your knees to provide a soft space to surrender into.

I also like to add a scalp massage to the pose after 30 seconds to 1 minute. Simply roll to the top of your head, lifting your hips off your heels and gently roll back to child’s pose. Keep doing this as long as it feels good…allowing your neck to extend with each lift.

Ear to Shoulder Pose – Sit comfortably, looking straight ahead. Place your left hand on the mat, close to your body, and draw your right hand to your left ear, slowing drawing your right ear to your right shoulder. This can be done without the hands, however, the addition of the hands allows a steady resistance to stretch the lateral muscles of the neck and open the upper back. Hold for 30 seconds – 2 minutes and repeat on the other side.

Seated Twist – Any seated twist will help wring out tension in the spine and open the neck and shoulders.  I recommend a basic twist, sitting in a comfortable position, bringing your right hand to your left knee, drawing your left arm around your back, and looking over your left shoulder for 30 seconds – 1 minute. Repeat on the other side.

Corpse Pose (Savasana) – Lay on your back in a comfortable manner that allows your lower back to fully touch the mat. Before surrendering into the pose and settling into a meditative state, gently roll your head from side to side, letting go of any residual tension in the neck and softening into relaxation.

Neck pain doesn’t have to be a daily part of life. By becoming aware of the daily practices that are causing your neck pain and making adjustments to your lifestyle…including adding these yoga poses to your day, you can begin to let go of the pain.

Peace to your hearts, peace to your words, and peace to your hearts…namaste!

Photo courtesy of YogaTrail ~ Carol F

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About Author: Michelle Finerty

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