Yoga Poses to Strengthen the Neck and Shoulders

In a world where many people work online, hunching over their computers all day, neck and shoulder pain is a reality many of us live with. 

While yoga is a deeply spiritual practice that offers many mental and emotional benefits, it is also a highly physical practice that can strengthen our bodies and relieve ailments. Neck and shoulder pain is one of the many issues that can be helped through regular yoga practice.

Neck and shoulder pain can be caused by injury, sitting too long, or psychological problems like stress, causing muscles to stiffen. 

Of course, if your pain is severe and prolonged, you should consult a doctor before trying a strenuous new exercise. But if your pain is mild, you may find relief through yoga. Yoga can help strengthen muscles throughout your body, helping improve your posture and relieve pain caused by injured, weakened, and strained muscles. 

Without further ado, here are yoga poses that can help strengthen and relieve pain in your neck and shoulder area.

Seated forward bend

This pose will help strengthen and align your neck and shoulders.

You’ll sit with your legs extended in front of you and fold forward, reaching for your heels. If you can’t reach them, that’s okay. Just reach as far as you can. Pull your shoulders in and tuck in your chin while taking a deep breath. You’ll feel a stretch in your hamstrings, but also in your neck and shoulders. 

Cat/cow stretch

Everyone who’s tried yoga is familiar with this pose. It’s a staple pose for a good reason. It not only opens the chest cavity, allowing you to achieve deeper breaths, it stretches your neck and shoulders inward and outward, relieving tension stored there.

 Neck rolls

Neck rolling is an exercise many use every day to relieve mild tension and stiffness in their neck and shoulders. 

This yoga pose is done by bending your chin towards your chest, then gently rolling your head to the one way so that your ear touches your shoulder. Pull your head to your shoulder, and use your other hand to pull your opposite shoulder downwards. Finally, roll your head backward, and repeat on both sides.

This pose shouldn’t cause pain but should feel like a gentle relief of tension in your neck and shoulders.

 Standing forward bend 

Think about how much of our lives we spend upright, gravity pulling our bodies in one direction… Why not flip the script?

This pose is just like the sitting forward bend, but standing! The main benefit of standing rather than sitting is that gravity works in your favor. You’ll feel a stretch in your hamstrings and the downward pull of gravity, enhancing the stretch in your neck and shoulders.

 Melting heart pose

Just as we spend a lot of our lives upright, we’re often hunched over, letting gravity pull us forward, putting strain on our neck and shoulders. The melting heart pose gives our bodies a break from that.

To do this pose, get on all fours and arch your back so that your face touches the floor, your arms extended in front of you. This allows your neck and shoulders to be stretched in an entirely different way than usual, releasing the stiffness and tension that may be causing you pain.

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