If you spend most of your day at the computer, it’s likely that you have started to feel some pain and tightness in your neck and shoulders. As uncomfortable as this pain may be, it’s good to know that there are things you can do to take care of your body!
Yoga poses can be very effective in improving the health of your neck and shoulders and reducing the pain you may have been experiencing. Here are three of the best poses to relieve pain in your neck and shoulders!
Cow face Pose
The cow face pose, or gomukhasana, is a seated yoga pose that can help relieve tension in the neck. Begin by sitting on the mat with your legs stretched out in front of you. Bend your right knee and bring it toward your chest. Place your right foot on the outside of your left knee so that the sole of the foot faces up.
Bring both hands behind you and clasp them together at the small of your back. Gently push down against your thighs to straighten your spine as much as possible. Gaze upward and take deep breaths for 3-5 minutes.
To release the pose, lean forward onto your feet with hands on either side of you until you are able to straighten yourself into an upright position. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.
A great pose for the neck is Child’s Pose. From a kneeling position, place your butt on your heels with your knees together and sit back so that you are resting on your thighs. Place your forehead against the ground or a block just above the ground.
Take deep breaths as you release tension from around the neck area. Stay here for at least five minutes, breathing deeply and relaxing into each stretch. If you have any problems with your lower back, use a towel or blanket to support it.
The sphinx pose is an excellent stretch for the neck and chest area, which can help relieve tension in the shoulders. To get into this pose, lie on your stomach with your forehead resting on the ground.
Once you are lying down, lift your head so that you are looking at a 45-degree angle upwards. Bring your arms out straight by your sides so that they are parallel to the ground. Now bring them together above your head to form a triangle shape.
Upward Dog Pose
This pose stretches the muscles of your neck, shoulders, and upper back. Start on your hands and knees with your wrists under your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide apart as you press into the ground with your palms.
Tuck your toes under if possible. Then push up onto the balls of your feet (or just raise one leg for balance). If you can’t straighten both legs, bend one knee for more support or use a yoga block for extra height.
Downward Dog Pose
Downward Dog is an excellent pose for stretching your neck, back, and shoulders. Start on all fours with your hands directly under the shoulders, and knees directly under the hips. Lift your head up as you push down through the heels of your hands to straighten out your arms.
Tuck your toes under so you’re balancing on the balls of your feet. Extend your legs behind you, bending at the waist. Push your chest forward and look up toward the ceiling (without straining) to find balance in this pose.
Thread the Needle Pose
1) Sit on your mat with your legs extended forward (parallel to one another)
2) Bend your left knee until it’s touching the ground. Place your left foot on your right thigh just below the knee joint. Bring your hands together in front of you, with fingers pointing toward each other. Keep palms facing each other and elbows out to the sides so that you are sitting up straight and long, like a thread coming from a spool of thread.
3) Keeping palms together, take a deep breath as you slide your hands down between your knees, inhaling as you lengthen upwards through the spine. On an exhale, place the top of your head against the floor for support.
4) Stay here for 5-10 breaths before rolling back up to a seated position.
Repeat this pose on the opposite side by crossing your right leg over and placing your left foot on top of it at its ankle. Now inhale as you raise your torso upright and exhale while lying down on the floor.
All of these poses are great to relieve pain in your neck and shoulders. If you try them out, give yourself about a week for them to work. If they don’t help after that time, come back and do some more research on what would be best for your needs.
One pose I like is the child’s pose, where you sit with your legs folded beneath you, sitting on your heels. Place your forehead on the ground between your knees, as if you were kneeling in prayer. Let all the tension from your body melt away as you stretch every muscle from head to toe.
Another one is the shoulder stand pose (Sarvangasana), which can be done against the wall or without assistance when it becomes easier. In this pose, lie on your back with your feet near the wall. Walk your hands up the wall until you’re perpendicular to the floor.
Bring arms overhead and clasp hands together. Push into palms as you lift your upper torso off the mat and balance weight on your toes and elbows. Stay here for five breaths before lowering down onto the floor again.