Neck and shoulder pain are all too common ailments; experiencing pain and discomfort in this area can be highly debilitating and stressful. While there may be many reasons causing your pain, it is important to offer yourself care where you can.
Read on to explore 3 simple yoga poses that can be done anytime you need relief and release in your upper body:
- Thread the Needle. This stretch offers an upper body twist while stretching deeply between the scapulas, and underarms. Begin in a tabletop position and keep your left hand planted, reach and extend the right arm beneath the left underarm, until it is fully extended. The extended arm will be resting palm facing up. Now lower your right ear to the mat and rest. Feel free to reach your left hand behind your back to deepen the twist, or straighten the left arm forward to deepen the stretch in your shoulders. Hold for at least 30 seconds and up to 3 minutes.
- Shoulder Roll. This is a deep stretch for the chest, shoulder, upper back, and neck. Begin by lying flat on your belly. Rest on your right ear, and look towards the left. Extend your right arm out horizontally to the side, or for a deeper stretch in your chest, extend the right arm at a 90 degree angle. Plant your left hand beside your face and bend your left knee. When you are ready, push the floor away with the left palm, and reach the left foot behind you to your right side. You will feel a warm, deep stretching spreading through the right shoulder, chest, and upper back. Hold for at least 30 seconds and up to 3-4 minutes.
- Supported Fish. This is a highly therapeutic pose for relieving upper body pain, particularly when it is related to posture. This pose requires props and can be done with a yoga bolster. If you do not have these props around, that is okay! I recommend using one or two towels and rolling them up to create your own cylindrical bolster. You will start by placing the bolster vertically at the top of your mat and sitting directly in front of it (NOT on it). Now, slowly lower yourself back onto the bolster, thinking of lining it up with your spine. Your sit bones should still be on the ground, and your head should also be resting on the bolster. Once reclined, open your arms up wide and reach them out to your side. The higher and wider you spread your arms, the deeper the stretch will feel through the chest, shoulders, throat, and neck. Hold this pose for at least 2 minutes and up to 10.
When navigating chronic pain of any variety, it is so important that we find practices and resources that help to support us and relieve our discomfort. If your situation is serious, I encourage you to connect with a professional.
I hope that these simple poses can support you on our journey of finding relief and release.