Postures in this article are for shoulder and neck pain relief and to enhance strength and flexibility. All the poses are for shoulders, neck, arms, face and upper back.
That’s why, to get complete relief, it’s important to develop flexibility, strength and better position of body. In this way you’ll get support toward health of shoulder and neck. These 15 yoga poses are for neck and shoulder pain relieve, includes 3 following parts.
- Full-body stretch, which includes warm-up postures for releasing tension and improve flow of energy throughout body.
- Breathing is heart of yoga practice. It help you to focus your brain and join your body and mind through breathing.
- Standing poses, enhance balance, strength, stability, mobility and confidence. With good alignment standing on your own feet, is important for physical and psychological health.
When to practice.
You should do these practices as much as 45 to 60 minutes a day. If you can’t manage then at least or at least practice five minutes a day. Even too little period of 5-minutes a day can show considerable benefits. In short, a regular short-practice is much better than long rare practice as it help to create your yoga routine. For instance, if you have just 15-minutes, you can divide your time:
- Three minutes, centering and breathing;
- Eight minutes, Full-body stretch or standing postures;
- Four minutes, shoulder & neck postures;
Try to practice mostly poses at least twice within this time. Try to practice, at least once in a week, all postures in a longer session.
Although evening practice is suitable, but avoid energizing postures (including back-bends) right before bed, or you’ll feel difficulty to sleep.
Centering the body:
First and last step in every yoga practice starts with surrendering you to the earth. Just lie down straight on your back with bent-knees, feet flat with the floor and arms relaxing at your sides. Relax your neck and shoulders. Make sure while lying down, your chin and forehead are level-horizontally, and there should not any curve in the neck. No tension on your face, soften it and relax your jaw so that inside of your mouth also get relax.
Your complete attention should be at your breathing.
Feel the inhale and exhale of your breath and examine the feelings associated with such breathing. Feel the air coolness while it enters your nose and warmth when it exit from body. Feel the expansion of your torso on inhaling and shrinking on exhaling. Feel the texture and quality of your breath, whether it is short and choppy, or slow and deep. Every time at the end of inhaling, just take a little pause and feel. Similarly take a tiny pause while exhaling. Just stay with your breath and feel it, observe it without judging it.
Impliedly enter and feel your body and sense how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally. Take an inward journey within your mind and body through your mind’s eye and scan your body. Fully scan inside yourself, watch out for places of tightness, tension, any discomfort, pain or holding. If you find such place inside you, send breath over-there while inviting softness, and release the breath.
Exhale your Tension:
Convey your focus to the backside of body and observe all the parts of your body you’re touching earth. For example feel your back, buttocks, back of arms, back-side of your head and soles of feet. Feel the support of contract with floor and acknowledge that floor is holding you upside with no struggle by you. You’ll observe that each breath exhale will provide your body more relax by releasing more weight into earth.
Deep (Abdominal) Breath:
While lying down, put your both hand palms on lower part of belly, below your navel above your pubic bone. While you breath, inhale air down to the lowest part of lungs. Now, as you fill lungs with air, just feel how your belly shaped and how your hands softly mount. Now, as you exhale, feel how your belly loose down and your hands tenderly fall. Keep doing this slowly and gently.
During this slow and deep breathing practice, imagine your lungs as two large balloons that extend into ribs and shrink. On inhaling, visualize these balloons enlarging, right-side, left-side, top, bottom, front and back-side, inside of your body. On exhaling, while engaging belly muscles, softly release all used and old air, so that belly squeeze toward spine and exit used-breath.
Lying straight on your back, arms on your sides, bring your consciousness to your head. Permit your head to become relax so that its weight falls on earth by softening your shoulders and neck. Now very slowly start swinging your head side to side and feel the awareness linked with movement. And notice if your head rotate in one direction, farther than other direction.
Put your head at midpoint by facing your chin up. Inhale deep-breath and while exhaling turn the head to right side in a way that your chin moves toward shoulder.
Now relax here for few-more breaths, relax your left shoulder and softly send your breath to left side of neck. Now while inhaling, bring it back to the center, and while exhaling move your head to left-side in same way. Now rest here for few breaths and relax your right shoulder, and then while inhaling come back to the center.
Shoulder Stretch and upper back:
Relax your arms at your sides, and breathe slowly. Now, while inhaling, expand and raise your arms overhead (as backs of hands come to floor behind you).
If you cannot stretch your arms fully, you may bend elbows as per your comfort. Now exhale and stretch your arms while bringing them down beside you. Just continue this movement (inhale up, exhale down), for at least 7 to 9 slow deep and slow breaths. Harmonize your practice with your breath, and move softly as you’re moving through water. Don’t haste regarding movements of hands and breathe.
Knee to chest pose:
In this lying-position, take a deep breath and on exhale grip your right knee and squeeze it to your chest. If you feel it difficult due to some strain then use some band or bathrobe belt to grab your leg.
Stay here for some breaths, inhale and while exhaling pull your leg toward rib-cage and feel the stretch. Continue this practice and reverse this practice on your left leg.
In this posture, while exhaling squeezing your right leg and on inhaling extend the right foot upward to the sky. Straighten your leg as long as, comfortably.
Now while exhaling, bend the knee as your foot touch your buttocks. Now repeat this movement with breath for 4 to 5 times, as inhale and straighten, exhale and bend. Afterward, repeat this movement with your left leg.
Both-Knees bending Pose:
In straight lying position, as your knees bend and feet sole touching ground, take a full deep breath. While exhaling, grab your both knees and pull them towards the chest and hold behind your thighs. If you can’t hold, then try to grip your shins or catch the legs with a strap, as you feel comfortable. Carry your consciousness to the feeling of stretching in your buttocks and lower-back.
While inhaling, sense your lungs filling with breath and extend in a way that your thighs softly float away. On exhaling, as your bend elbows and bring thighs closer to rib-cage, contract your belly inside, toward your spine. With deep breath, repeat this 7 to 10 times. Inhale and letting your thighs float, and exhale and draw your belly into the spine. This soft breath pumping movement is also very helpful to digesting system. After finishing, release your legs and bring your feet back to the floor.
Table Pose (including Cat-Pose and dog-tilt):
Now roll over onto your either side, and apply the strength of arms and hands to come onto all fours. Bring your hands under the shoulders and knees aligned with hips.
Open your fingers along with floor and press on the floor with pads and base of fingers. Make sure that your knees are relaxed; if not then use a blanket or towel as extra stuffing. Similarly if you have uneasiness regarding your wrist, then use towel and come onto your fists. Now you have formed table pose. Take full deep breath and while exhaling, make an arch of your spine like a cat angrily reacts to cucumber. In this pose your head is facing toward the floor and called cat pose.
Now, while inhaling release the spine down to the ground as an arc in opposite direction, called dog-tilt. Take a soft look towards the sky.
Keep this movement mindful and very slow and harmonize the feeling of extending and flexing your spine. Feel as you can feel every part of back bone moving like a pearls thread. Make sure in cat pose completely drop your head down so that your neck muscles may relaxed. While deep breathing, repeat this entire movement for 7 to 10 times.
As seen in the picture, begin this pose with flat back as in table pose. Take a deep breath and observe your rib-cage extended around your torso. While you exhale bring your left knee forward and, on inhaling expand your left leg straight. In this pose your foot toes would be straight right behind you.
Repeat this exhale and knee forward, inhale and extend straight, for three to five times. As you repeat last time, stretch your leg straight behind and stay for few breaths. As of task, you can also pick your right hand, extending forward your right arm, as shown in picture below.
Don’t hold your breath and keep deep breathing for 5 to 7 times, and come back to all fours. Now repeat the same for your right leg.
As child shows displeasure and angry, bring your buttocks on your heels and move your head toward the earth. Pile your palms on the floor while resting your forehead on hands.
As per your convenience, you can also put your arms alongside your body and palms facing up. In your body shape is round then you may try spread your thighs wide just to be more comfortable.
This will allow your body to relax down between the legs. Stay there for more deep breaths.
Now come to standing posture, having your feet 5-inches wide (hip-width). Just make sure you are stable and feet soles are contacting with the floor. Press and bear the complete weight on your feet so that you feel stable and grounded. Allow the energy rising up through your legs, just like a tree having nutrients from earth through its roots. Now lengthen the back of your waist and softly draw your lower belly and relax the shoulders down. Be sure chin is parallel horizontally and neither lifted nor tucked. Take a soft look toward horizon; with relax shoulders, throat and fact.
Visualize a light coming out of your heart at your breastbone. Take some slow and full deep breaths, while filling and draining your lungs. Imagine yourself as stable and strong mountain.
In standing posture, turn palms out, inhale and extend your arms while bringing them overhead till your palms touches. While doing this, don’t drop your head down and remain at prayer posture.
Synchronize your move with deep breath and repeat this pose for at least five times.
Another mountain pose:
Take a deep breath and exhale. On next inhaling raise your right arm upside and turn your head to left side, without moving your shoulders.
Make sure, that you’ll just turn your neck. While exhaling, relax your arm and bring your head to the center. Similarly repeat this practice with your left arm and turn your head to the right side. Again, while toning your movement with breath, change the sides and repeat it at least five times.
In your standing pose, feel your body weight equally distributed on your legs while looking straight in front of you. Now while inhaling, raise your arms slightly outside, above the shoulders, and while exhaling relax your shoulders down from ears. After breathing 2 to 3 times, pick your left heel and put it on your right leg. In this posture, turn your left knee so that its sole is against your right leg’s ankle.
This wonderful posture is called tree posture, and if you want to gain support and tranquility, practice this pose. If you cannot do this without support, little help from wall or chair is O.K. But don’t press the foot against your knee. Look softly on a focus point as this will help to stabilize your balance. Stay here for at least 3 to 5 deep and slow breaths, and bring your foot down, and repeat the same for other foot.