As we spend more time hunched over screens, neck and shoulder pain has become an increasingly common issue. Luckily, yoga offers a natural and effective way to alleviate this discomfort without resorting to medication or invasive treatments. Here are five yoga poses to relieve neck and shoulder pain:
1. Cat-Cow Stretch: Begin on all fours with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. On an inhale, arch your back and lift your head and tailbone towards the ceiling, creating a hollowed out shape. On an exhale, round your spine and tuck your chin to your chest, bringing your tailbone towards your knees. Repeat this movement for five to ten breaths, focusing on the fluidity of your spine.
2. Thread the Needle: From your all-fours position, reach your right arm towards the ceiling, twisting your torso towards the left. On an exhale, thread your right arm underneath your left arm, resting your right shoulder and ear on the mat. Hold for five to ten breaths, then repeat on the other side.
3. Eagle Arms: Sit cross-legged or in a comfortable seated position, reaching your arms straight in front of you. Cross your right arm over your left arm, bringing your palms to touch. If possible, wrap your right hand around your left wrist, creating an eagle-like shape. Hold for five to ten breaths, then repeat on the other side.
4. Supported Fish Pose: Lie on your back with a block or bolster underneath your shoulder blades. Allow your head to fall back towards the floor, stretching your neck and chest. Stay here for five to ten breaths, then remove the prop and slowly roll up to a seated position.
5. Shoulder Stand: Lie on your back with your arms alongside your body. On an inhale, lift your legs towards the ceiling, using your hands to support your lower back. Hold for five to ten breaths, then slowly lower your legs back down to the mat.
Remember to listen to your body and take things at your own pace. These poses can be modified or skipped entirely if they cause discomfort. With consistent practice, you’ll find that your neck and shoulder pain diminishes and your overall posture improves. Namaste!