Are you experiencing pain, stiffness and tension in your neck, shoulders, upper back and chest. Try out this soothing sequence.
Hold each pose for a few breaths, or until feels good. No props required.
- Seated Chest Opener – Start seated, lengthen spine, relax shoulders down and away from ears. Bring the hands back behind you, coming up on fingertips. Bend the elbows and lean back. Think of pushing the chest up to the sky. Try to squeeze the shoulder blades back behind you. Close eyes and focus on the flow of the breath.
2. Side Bend – Lift back up. Reach right arm up and over. Hold for a few breaths. Plant left palm down, bend into the right elbow. Rotate back, chest up towards the sky. Relax the neck fully. After a few breaths, lift up and repeat on the other side.
3. Kneeling – Come up to table top. Take a few rounds of cat/cow. Inhaling to drop the belly, lift the gaze and curl tailbone up. Exhale to round and contract into the spine. Then bring the big toes together. Press the hips back to the heels. Walk the fingers forward as far as you can before lowering forehead down. Imagine pushing the armpits down towards the floor. No tension in neck or jaw.
4. Standing Forward Fold – Lift up and make your way to downward dog for a few breaths. Before walking the feet up to the top of the mat. Keeping a bend in the knees and folding down over the legs. Option to clasp opposite elbows. Or add some traction by interlacing fingers behind the base of the skull. Bringing the elbows towards the cheeks.
5. Lizard with Neck Release – Bring hands down and step right foot back. Lowering knee down to mat. Walk front foot to the side slightly, rotating toes out and opening knee. Bring the left hand to the low back, reaching towards right hip. Drop the right ear towards right shoulder. Stay up on hand or come to the forearm. After a few breaths. Lift up and switch to the other side.
6. Rabbit – Step the foot back, and lift up to tall kneeling. Interlace the fingers behind the back. Reaching hands down and taking a gentle backbend. Then lower forehead to mat, rolling onto the crown of the head. Lift the knuckles up and over. Keep the shoulders up and away from the ears.
7. Lying Chest Opener – Lay down on the belly. Open the left arm to the side, bending at 90 degrees. Bringing the elbow just higher than the shoulder. Arm flat to the floor. Roll on to the left hip, shoulder and ear. Keep the head down on the mat. Press right hand down on floor, or bring hand behind you. Bend the knees or step the right foot back if you like. Hold for a few breaths, then slowly ease through center and set up for the other side.
These poses come from a 20 minute Neck & Shoulder Stretch practice I shared recently across my channel and within my app.