Whether you slept funny, you’re stressed from a long day of work, or you overdid your last exercise session, it’s common to feel neck and shoulder pain. Luckily, we have 4 stretches our in-house yogis swear by that can help alleviate some of that pain.
- Windowpane stretch: With both your arms behind your head, grab onto both elbows, forming a rectangle. Move your shoulders and neck to one side and hold for a nice, deep stretch. Repeat on the other side.
- Ear to shoulder/neck rolls: Sit comfortably on the floor or on a chair with your spine straight and shoulders relaxed. Draw your chin toward your chest and gently roll your right ear toward your right shoulder. Place the fingertips of your left hand on top of the left shoulder and your right fingertips above the left ear. The pressure you put on each of the two touch points determines how deep the stretch is. Hold for 5 breaths, then switch sides and repeat. Then roll your head side-to-side for 5 more breaths.
- Thread the needle: Begin in a tabletop position, with your knees aligned with your hips. Walk the left hand forward as far as you can and thread the right arm under it. Rest your right shoulder and your right cheek on the mat. Close your eyes and relax into the pose as it gently stretches the shoulders, arms, upper back, and neck. Hold this pose for approximately 8 to 10 breaths. Switch sides and repeat.
- Supported fish pose: Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you, or with your knees bent and your feet resting on the floor. Place a small stack of blankets or two yoga blocks behind you so that when you lean back, one will rest between your shoulder blades and one will support your head. Lean back onto the blocks and relax your arms on either side of your body. Relax in this pose for 8–10 breaths.
If you want to complete the yoga flow, you can finish by taking a minute to reflect in prayer or meditation. Try a few of these stretches the next time you’re feeling neck and shoulder pain.