THESE 7 YOGA POSES FOR A STIFF NECK WILL HELP YOU RELEASE TENSION, RELAX TIGHT MUSCLES, EASE STRESS AND RELAX.
Does a stiff neck have you thinking about skipping your workout today?
Because most neck and shoulder issues come from tightening of the muscles due to stress or repetitive movement.
Yoga gently stretches those muscles to loosen them up and relieve that stiffness.
It’s important to note if you have fallen recently, been in a car accident or injured yourself in some way or if you are running a fever, you need to see your doctor before doing any exercises to rule out a serious medical problem.
But if you just have your everyday standard stiff neck because you slept wrong or sat in front of the computer for hours, these seven yoga moves that will target that area and give you fast relief.
1. The Fish Pose
The Fish pose is great for simultaneously releasing tension in your neck and building strength. It also does a good job of stretching your throat, the front of your neck, hip flexors and rib muscles.
1. Begin lying on your back with your legs and arms outstretched.
2. Lift your tummy off the ground and place your hands beneath your hips, palms up.
3. Lower your hips to gently rest on your hands with your elbows and forearms tucked into your body.
4. Breathe in, press your elbows and forearms into the ground and press your shoulder blades into your back.
5. Take another breath and raise your upper body and head off the ground. Next, allow your head to gently tilt back and touch the ground. Keep your knees bent and avoid crunching your neck!
2. Thread the Needle
This pose is good for your neck, shoulders and back.
1. Start in the tabletop position or on all fours.
2. Your knees should line up with your hips.
3. Lower your head and shoulders down to the floor then twist your body so your right cheek and shoulder are resting on the mat.
4. Stretch your right arm out in front of your body and close your eyes while you hold the pose.
5. Once complete, switch sides.
Cakravakasana combines two common poses, tabletop and child’s, into one fluid movement.
Not only is this great for relieving tension for a stiff neck, but it nourishes your entire spine.
1. Start on all fours to make the tabletop pose.
2. Your shoulders should be above your wrists and your hips over your knees as you inhale and lift your chest up and forward.
3. Drop your head down to the floor and stretch your arms out in front to form the child’s pose and hold.
4. Your chest should rest on your thighs with your hips be positioned over your heels.
4. Cat/Cow Pose
The Cat/Cow pose is a staple in any yoga class, a firm favorite of mine and will help you gain the freedom of movement in your neck and back.
1. Return to the tabletop pose with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees.
2. Your back should be in a neutral, flat position.
3. As you inhale, arch your back and pull your head up so your gaze is forward. This is the cow’s pose.
4. Hold this position for a few seconds before dropping your head to tuck your chin into your chest.
5. At the same time, draw your tailbone in by pressing it down and forward while you arch your back.
6. Hold for a few seconds and then return to the cow’s pose.
5. Ardha Matsyendrasana
Ardha Matsyendrasana is also known as the seated twist or half spinal twist.
1. Sit on your mat with both legs extended out in front of your body.
2. Your hands should rest at your sides.
3. Pull one knee up into a bent position and pull the foot over the outstretched leg, so the sole rests flat on the other side.
4. Place the arm opposite the bent knee on top of it and extend the other one out on the side with your palm pressing into the mat.
5. Inhale and twist your body toward the outstretched arm, so your gaze is facing away from the flat leg.
6. Slide your hand back further until it is almost touching your tailbone to stretch both your neck and back then hold the position before switching to the other side.
6. Ear to Shoulder Pose
The Ear to Shoulder pose is a great time-saver. Do it at work, while you commute, or simply in idle moments of relaxation. 1
1. Start in a seated position and take your arms behind your back.
2. Interlace your fingers and press the palm of your hand together.
3. Bring your bunched palms over to rest against your right hip.
4. Allow your right ear to tilt towards your right shoulder.
5. Avoid using any strength, but allow gravity to pull your head to the side. To deepen the stretch, let your left drop.
6. Really take the time to feel the stretch. Once complete, switch sides!
7. Corpse Pose
Don’t let the name scare you, this pose is considered one of the most rejuvenating in yoga and a good choice for the end of your workout!
1. Lie down on the mat with your back flat and your legs and arms extended. Your palms should be facing upward and your gaze is toward the ceiling.
2. Since no two bodies are the same, you might have to make some adjustments to really feel comfortable.
3. Try wiggling your hips to find the right spot or pressing your shoulder blades inward towards each other.
4. Some bend their legs, so the soles of their feet are pressed against the floor to better support their lower back.
5. Once you find your perfect spot, close your eyes and let your body relax. Hold this position for several minutes to allow the tension to leave your neck and spine. When your muscles feel tight and sore, yoga is one of the best ways to get them to relax.
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