Hello SOTGC community,
Spending long days behind the wheel or a computer can wreak havoc on our posture, affecting the lower back, neck, and shoulders. To undo tension and create softness and release, try the following yoga poses especially picked for your neck and shoulders!
But first, let’s address the goals for yoga for neck and shoulders. You want to undo tension and find release and relief. You must let yourself rest and tune into your breathing. The result? The release of chronic muscular holding, such as what a student of mine calls “shoulder earmuffs,” where she hikes her shoulders up to her ears while working at a desk.
The sequence below is great for anyone, whether you’ve never done yoga before in your life or if you’ve practiced for years! Give yourself ten to fifteen minutes for all of the poses below. Each includes breathing and instructions. You can mix and match your own sequence to make it longer or shorter.
Remember, there is no rule in yoga except to do what feels good!
Yoga Sequence for Neck and Shoulders
- Start – 5 deep breaths; eyes closed; seated on chair, floor, or bed.
- Ragdoll – 10 breaths – Fold forward at waist; let head and neck release towards ground; grasp opposite elbows; gently swap; bend knees.
- Arm Sweeps – 5, with breath – Extend arms on either side; inhale arms up; exhale arms down like flapping wings.
- Bound Arm Sweeps – 5, with breath – Interlace fingers and flip palms to bind hands; inhale arms up; exhale arms down.
- Shoulder Shrugs – 4 or 5, with breath – Inhale shoulders up to ears; exhale shoulders down and back as chest comes forward.
- Neck Rolls – 4 or 5, with breath – Inhale and roll right ear to right shoulder; exhale back to center; inhale and roll left ear to left shoulder.
- Easy Neck Release – 10-15 breaths each side – Place right fingers on left temple; draw right ear toward right shoulder; bring right shoulder down; switch sides.
- Shoulder Stretch – 10-15 breaths each side – Cross right arm in front of chest; catch with crook of left elbow; gently press right forearm in toward chest; switch sides.
- Elbow Stretch – 10-15 breaths each side – Reach right arm to sky; bend elbow and reach hand toward shoulder blades; press right elbow down with left hand; switch sides.
- Close – 5 deep breaths. Open your eyes and embrace your day!
To achieve the goals of undoing tension and finding release, you can also try restorative yoga poses, folds, and twists – but I’ll get to that later! Above all, allow change to come and modify sequences and poses to suit your practice. And remember: inhale up, exhale down!
How do you find release and relief, not just in the neck and shoulders but in life? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.