Everyone knows that yoga is good for relieving the minor aches and pains of daily life, but which poses should you choose to target that terrible "I've been sitting at the computer all day and my neck and shoulders are like boulders" feeling? Try these.
This pose, which is shown above, is a great shoulder opener. It helps relax the upper traps (sides of your neck) and stretches out the area between your shoulder blades.
- To get into the pose, stretch your arms out at shoulder level, cross your right arm under your left, and bend your elbows and try to bring your hands into a prayer position. If you can't, that's okay, you can just take a hold of your opposite wrist. Since it's a shoulder opener, the hand position is relatively arbitrary.
- With every inhalation, lift your arms a little higher, and with every exhalation, move your forearms towards the ground. Basically, you are lifting your arms and increasing the angle. You should feel the stretch throughout your shoulders.
- Switch sides.
Dolphin pose is basically a modified Down Dog. It helps strengthen and stretch the shoulders.
- To get into the pose, start from dog down, which is an inverted-v position. Your hips should move towards the ceiling, your heels towards the ground, and you should have a wide, comfortable hand position.
- Lower your forearms, remembering to keep pressing back with your hips and down with your heels.
- Return to Down Dog and repeat.
Side Bending Neck Stretches
Neck stretches are an easy way to relieve tension when you can't get into a complicated yoga routine.
- Sit with your shoulders relaxed. Let your right ear drop down towards your right shoulder.
- After a few moments, use your right hand as a gentle weight. Allow the left side of your neck to relax.
- Bring your head back up to neutral and repeat on the left side.
Shoulder rolls are a simple way to loosen up the muscles of your neck and shoulders that can be done anywhere.
- Let your arms hang by your sides. Being mindful not to overstretch, roll your shoulders in circles towards the back. First move them up, then back, then down, then forward. Try to do this slowly and calm your breathing.
- Repeat in the other direction.
This video shows a full 10-minute yoga routine that targets the neck and shoulders:
You may also be interested in:
- Popular Forms of Yoga and How Yoga Can Change Your Life
- 5 Simple Yoga Stretches You Can Do Anywhere
- Yoga DVDs available on eBay: