5 yoga poses (stretches) for neck pain
1 . Heart opener over foam roller or blanket roll. We start each yoga class with this one. Sacrum is off of the blanket. Head is supported or base of skull lines up with edge of roller/blanket. Arms are out 45 degrees from the body. Rest here as long as time allows and there is no strain. For added benefit move arms, beginning slowly, either hands up towards sky or snow angel overhead.
2. Standing (or seated) simple hand clasp behind spine. Palms closed or open depending on shoulder tightness. Shoulders down and rib cage in; pull belly button in towards spine. Ears are lined up over shoulders and chin gently tucks back into neck. Breathe. For added benefit: inhale, lift hands away from spine and up while keeping shoulders down. Repeat with change in hand clasp.
3. Cow face arms. Start standing (or seated) arms extended out to the sides, shoulders down, palms down. Cross right arm over left, bending at elbows. Backs of hands touch or you can wrap the palms to touch (only if shoulders allow..do not force). Keep front ribs together and pull belly button in towards spine. Eye gaze is up. For added benefit: inhale lift arms up towards sky, exhale, return arms back to chest. repeat. Repeat crossing left arm over right.
4. Lateral flexion, side stretch of neck. Gently anchor down arm by holding onto chair edge if seated, or pant leg if standing, for extra benefit. Upper arm gently bends so fingers can clasp opposite side of head near ears. Weight of hand on head is often enough of a stretch. Eye gaze is forward. For added benefit turn head towards underarm of upper arm, look down and move finger clasp to back of skull. Breathe! Repeat other side.
5. Sphinx: While laying on belly, align elbows under shoulders, legs out long and strong. Inhale up, exhale down like in child’s pose for added benefit. Press elbows and forearms in to the earth and lift up head up yet tucking in the chin. Bring heart through. I love this exercise because most neck pain starts in the mid back. If you have low back pain, please ask a professional before starting.