fering from neck and shoulder pain, we tend to turn to medication or a heating pad for relief. However, Yoga can be a perfect alternative in this situation. The following sequence will help you ease your neck and shoulder pain. A healing yoga sequence to ease the neck pain will be the best gift for years to come. For pain relief at any time, here are some yoga poses that will free up all of the areas surrounding your neck, and let you feel more open and less tense:

  1. SHOULDER OPENER AT WALL

This yoga pose is very common in our flow practice. However, sometimes it’s nice to just relax and focus on this shoulder opener only when you are at work or anytime you need to relieve your neck’s tightness.

Step-to-step instruction

START: Stand a few feet in front of a wall and place hands flat on it a bit above waist height.

FINISH: As you bend forward from the hips, walk feet back and continue to straighten out arms. Try not to let an arch creep into the lower back; keep tailbone neutral. Also, keep eyes gazing down and allow your head to relax down between your arms. If that 90-degree angle is too much, start a little closer to the wall and place hands higher up. Breathe here for five deep breaths and release.

  1. 8-POINT SHOULDER OPENER

The eight-point Yoga pose is a tough asana for beginners at first as it requires your shoulders’ flexibility to get into the pose. It also lengthens the spinal nerves, which relieves tension in the head, neck and shoulders.

Step-to-step instruction

START: Lie facedown on the stomach. Reach left arm out at a 90-degree angle from the body with palm facing up. Use right hand under the right shoulder to start to press away, bending right knee. If comfortable, reach left toes behind the left knee as you rotate the body.

FINISH: Reach right arm to ceiling, flex palm, and allow the hand to fall toward the ground with gravity. Stay there for as long as you like. If there’s enough space, allow the right hand to meet the left in a clasp and breathe there for as long as feels good.

  1. STANDING FORWARD FOLD WITH SHOULDER OPENER

If you are looking for a compound yoga pose to relieve stress, headache, insomnia, as well as open shoulders, Standing Forward Fold with Shoulder Opener is great for you. This pose is also excellent for stretches the hamstrings, calves, and hips.

Step-to-step instruction

START: Begin in mountain pose. On an inhale, lift your hands up, and on your exhale hinge forward from your hips to bring your upper body towards your legs.

FINISH: Interlace your fingers behind you and let your arms relax over your head and towards the floor. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and let your arms relax towards the mat. Lift and lengthen the front torso just slightly; with each exhalation release a little more fully into the forward bend. In this way, the torso oscillates almost imperceptibly with the breath. Let your head hang from the root of the neck, which is deep in the upper back, between the shoulder blades. To come out slow lift your body back into mountain pose. Remember to keep your belly drawing in towards your spine.

  1. COW’S FACE

Shoulder injuries are one of the most common problems during fitness training. These injuries can be sharp or chronic based on when they’re diagnosed and the duration you have felt the pain. For increased flexibility, less stiffness, and freer and fuller range of motion, try this Cow’s Face exercise.

Step-to-step instruction

START: Place your hands and knees in the table position, then cross the right leg in front of the left, and walk both ankles out to the sidewalls. Slowly walk the hands to the tops of the feet or ankles. Use your arms to support you as you slowly lower the hips down to the floor or to your heels.

FINISH: Reach your left fingers between the shoulder blades, and reach your right hand around the back to grasp the left fingers. Gently pull the arms towards each other. Stay here or exhale and lower the forehead to the knees or all the way to the floor. Breathe deeply and hold 3-8 breaths. To release: Release the arms and slowly inhale the head and torso up. Walk the hands forward coming back to the table position. Repeat another side.

  1. THREAD THE NEEDLE

Thread the Needle Pose is a shoulder-releasing yoga posture. This pose will give you a great stretch through the chest and shoulders, as well as help loosen the muscles in the low back and neck. Avoid practising this pose if you have a recent or chronic injury to your knees, shoulders, or neck. Those with back injuries should approach this pose with caution and should only attempt to practice it under the guidance of an experienced instructor.

Step-to-step instruction

START: Place your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Point your fingertips to the top of your mat. Place your shins and knees hip-width apart. Center your head in a neutral position and soften your gaze downward.

FINISH: Slide your right arm underneath your left arm with your palm facing up. Let your right shoulder come all the way down to the mat. Rest your right ear and cheek on the mat, then gaze toward your left. Keep your left elbow lifting and your hips raised. Soften and relax your lower back. Hold for up to one minute. To release, press through your left hand and gently slide your right hand out. Return to the starting position. Then repeat the pose on the opposite side.

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