8 Yoga Poses for Your Shoulders and Neck

I'm sure I'm not the only one who spends a lot of time infront of a laptop. I'm trying to lessen the time I spend but nonetheless it doesn't take long before that hunched position causes tension in my shoulders, neck and upper back. Regardless of how you spend your day though, the shoulders and neck are some of the most common areas for people to store tension.
So I've put together this post of 8 yoga poses for your shoulders and neck to help you relieve that tension and give your body some well-deserved  luurrrv!

When doing the poses, breathe from your abdomen and ensure that you go at you own pace and to your own ability (you'll see later on I had help from a pile of compost bags for my headstand), don't worry about what you think yoga poses are 'supposed' to look like or about getting a pose 'perfect', that's not what yoga is about.
Yoga is about letting go and finding and doing what feels good!

Shoulder Rolls

Sit in a comfortable crossed legged position and place your hands on your knees.
On an inhale squeeze your shoulders up to your ears then on an exhale roll them back and down, lightly moving your shoulder blades towards one another.
Repeat as many times as you want!

Neck Rolls

Sit with your head aligned over your heart and your heart aligned over your pelvis, shoulders relaxed. Start rolling your neck one way, inhaling on the way up and exhaling on the way down.
Repeat about 5 times before doing the same in the other direction.

Eagle Arms/Garudasana

Start in a crossed legged position. Raise your arms in front of you, parallel to the floor, palms facing downwards. Cross your right arm over your left so that the right elbow rests on the outer edge of the left inner elbow, then bend at the elbows. Your palms should be facing away from each other. Bringing your left hand towards you and continue to wrap your right arm around the left so that your palms now face each other. Roll your shoulders back and down and carefully lift your arms towards the ceiling to feel the stretch.

Unravel on an exhale and repeat on the other side.

Benefits; Stretches shoulders and upper back.


Heart to Earth Pose/Uttana Shishosana

Start on all fours, wrists underneath the shoulders and knees underneath the hips, keeping the neck long. Walk your hands forward a few inches and curl your toes under. Exhale, moving your bum back toward your heels, making sure your elbows don't tough the ground. Drop your forehead to the floor (or a blanket), relaxing your neck. Keep your lower back slightly curved. Stretch your spine by pressing your hands down, stretching your arms and pulling your hips back toward your heels. Breathe into your back.

 Benefits; Stretches spine and shoulders. Strengthens and stretches arms, hips and upper back. Improves flexibility, calms the mind and invigorates the body.

Revolved Childs Pose/Parsva Balasana

You can come into this pose from Heart to Earth pose.
Come onto the tops of the feet, then lift up slowly, pressing into your left palm and move your right arm underneath it, 'threading the needle', before coming to rest on your right shoulder and the side of your head. Press into your left palm for support and stay here for a few breaths.

 Benefits; Stretches shoulders, arm, neck and upper back.

Bow Pose/Dhanurasana

Start by lying on your belly with your arms alongside your torse, palms facing upwards.
(Lie on a folded blanket if that's more comfortable for you)
On and exhale, bend at your knees, bringing your feet towards your bum and reach back with your hands to take hold of the ankles or tops of the feet.
(If you can't reach, you can use a strap)
On an inhale rise up, and on an exhale, kick into the feet, pressing up and back and lifting your things away from the floor. Look forward.
Breath into the back of your torso.

Benefits; Stretches the entire front body, ankles, thighs, groin, abdomen, chest, throat and deep hip flexors. Strengthens back muscles. Stimulates organs in the abdomen and neck. Helps improve posture.

  Bridge Pose/Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Start lying on your back, with your knees bent, pointing towards the ceiling. Tuck your chin into your chest slightly. Keep your knees inline with your hip points as your move your heels towards your bum - they don't have to touch, relax your arms beside your torso and touch your heels to your finger tips at the least. Hug your navel towards your spine on an exhale and slowly lift your hips towards the ceiling, pressing into your feet and using your palms for support, and gently pressing your your bum towards your knees.
Once you feel comfortable, slowly bring your hands together underneath, moving your shoulder blades in and interlacing your fingers. Be sure not to drag your shoulders away from your ears as the back back of the neck shouldn't be touching the floor.

Benefits; Strengthens the legs. Opens the shoulders and chest. Tones the upper back, lengthens hip flexors and extends the thoracic spine. It can also help calm the mind and ease anxiety.

Upward Plank Pose/Purvottanasana

Start seated with your legs out long, sitting up straight and with your hands placed several inches behind your hips. Bend at your knees, bringing your feet onto the floor and turning your big toes inwards slightly. Then, pressing into your inner feet and your palms, lift your hips so that your are in a reverse table top position (or reverse hand and knees position), thighs parallel to the floor. Slowly straighten your legs out, on at a time, without losing the height of your hips. Be sure not to harden your bum. Press your shoulder blades in to support your chest and slowly drop your head back - though be sure you don't compress the back of your neck.

Benefits; Strengthens arms, wrists and legs. Stretches shoulders, chest and the front of your ankles.




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  2. Yoga helps to support shoulder stand stimulates, increase blood flow specifically to the head, neck, and shoulders. This stimulates the brain, and also the thyroid gland, which stabilizes the metabolism in the cross-time-zone-adjustment. This pose also facilitates the delivery of oxygen deep into the lungs. Finally, it helps to regulate the digestive system and reduces the risk of constipation. Also, good quality yoga supplies help to accomplish all of the postures correctly and in a flexible way.

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  4. With easier movements performed at a slower pace than more advanced forms of yoga, hatha yoga is perfect for beginners seeking the benefits of yoga. There are many styles of yoga asana practice including Ashtanga, Integral, Iyengar, Kundalini and Bikram.Luviyoga