Best Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Relief

Hey everyone. Today we have an awesome yoga for neck and shoulder release. 

So this is a beautiful time for you to just take a break from all your tasks and tend to your body, particularly the neck and the shoulders where we hold a lot of tension, a lot of stress from either emotional things, mental things, or from our other fitness activities. So as we're gearing up for summer and we're wanting to amp up our activity, a lot of that can sometimes manifest in the neck and shoulders. 

So it's all connected, right, the mind and the body. Here's an opportunity to tend to it. So hop into something comfy and let's get started. Alright, my friends, let's begin in a comfortable seat. You can do this sequence in a chair or on the edge of your couch. Or get down nice and low into Sukhasana, easy pose. And I'm sitting on a little blanket today. You can sit on a little cushion or a little towel if you like as well. But the main thing is you want to come into a position where you can find length through the spine, up and down the spine, right? 

So if you feel that your spinal cord has collapsed, let's see if we can pause the video and make adjustments so we can at least sit up nice and tall. And it will be an active lift, so I just say that because a lot of people are new to the practice. It's really hard to sit up nice and tall. So I just want to acknowledge that, and that's why we're going to work on the body today with the breath. When you're ready, take a moment to close your eyes and just tune in to how you're feeling. And we'll do so by noticing the breath. And as you're ready, just taking a couple of nice refreshing inhales and exhales, just on your own. Feel it out. Great. Just take a moment to kind of clear the slate. Maybe this image of the kind of clearing your desk. 

So that you can really just tend to yourself at this moment. We're going to get a great stretch, a great release in the neck and the shoulders. But you can also take this time to just do a little energetic hygiene, right, because it's all connected. Great, then open your eyes. And after you've taken a couple amazing, beautiful refreshing deep breaths in and out. So don't skimp on that. We'll bring the hands to the heart. I feel like I need to acknowledge that my voice is super low today. (laughs) Allergies. Press the palms together. Active arms here. When you're ready, elbows go out left to right. Now imagine a string pulling you up from the crown of the head. So literally use your creative mind, your imagination to see the spine, the vertebra lifting, and lengthening. Keep breathing. Pressing the palms together, elbows left to right. You're wanting to create a little heat, a little prana here. Sit up nice and tall, lift the chest. Again, imagine that string pulling you up from the crown of the head even more. And then release everything. Awesome. Hands come to the knees here. So if you're on a chair you'll go arms out long. If you're on the floor, see if you can wrap the arms around. So this will be different for everyone so that you can create a little bit of leverage here as well. 

So arms nice and straight. And then when you feel like you've found that, inhale, wrap the shoulder blades around your heart space, and lift your chest up. See if you can keep the image of that string just lifting and lengthening up through the crown of the head. And then from here, inhale in. Keep the heart lifted. Just exhale chin to chest, nice and slow. And then inhale, carve a line with the nose, look up. Then exhale. Keep the heart lifted, chest lifted, chin to chest. So there's a little bit of connection with the hands and the legs here, so you have that leverage as you inhale, look up. And as you exhale, chin to chest. Inhale, look up. And exhale, bow the head. Keep it going, a couple more times. See if you can keep the shoulder blades really firm on the back and the heart lifted. Then if you're experiencing any fussiness at all in the lower back, draw the navel in, hug the lower ribs in a little bit to support. Cool, one more time. Inhale to look up. And this exhale chin to chest. And then continue the journey.

Let the shoulder blades release. And we're going to bring the navel towards the back of the spine and round through the spine here. Now a lot of us in the community, we've done this shape before, right? Think Cat Pose. But see if you can really kind of sink in, find more depth here today by wrapping, excuse me, releasing the shoulder blades to wrap forward. And then hug the lower ribs in, create more stretch by hugging the front body to the back body. Then notice if you're clenching in the jaw or in your forehead or anything like that. And soften. Breathe deep. Close your eyes and feel it out. See if you can imagine the muscles of the back and the shoulders stretching, lengthening. Neck gaining more length, more space with every inhale. And use your exhale to soften, release any tension, any congestion, any stress that's been building up. This manifests in the body. This manifests through tight muscles which cause us discomfort. So you've got to bring the breath. Bring nice poignant breath. Great, then ground your tail down to the earth and start nice and slow articulating up through the spine. 

So we start to tilt the pelvis back and we roll up through the spine nice and slow, and the crown of the head is the last thing to lift up. And then just see if you can imagine the natural curve of your spine, which is different for everyone, right? And then when you're ready, open the palms, elbow creases up towards the sky. Squeeze the shoulders up to the ears and then wrap them back. And so the placement of your hands is going to move back, back, back. Wrap them back. And then bring the hands to the tops of the thighs here. And then again, firm the shoulder blades down the back body. And inhale, lift from the crown. Lift your chest. So you're engaging. In fact, go ahead and lift your hands a little bit, gentle pulses here. Back with the elbows. You're engaging all the muscles around the shoulders. You should be able to even feel it a little bit in the muscles of the arms. So baby pulses here. Again, if you're feeling any fussiness in the lower back body find support from within. Draw the navel in. Connect to your core muscles. Great, we're here for five. Breathe deep. Four. Three. Two, reach the fingertips all the way up on the one. Here we go. Spread the fingertips, lots of energy. Reach for the sky. Then bring the palms together and really activate them. See if you can press, press, press. Notice that the shoulder blades have kind of released forwards. See if you can, again, bring them together and firm them down the back body. Great, press the palms together, create a little heat. And then here we go. 

We're going to take the fingertips back, elbows towards the sky, and lift the elbows up. So the arms might be able to create a little bit of leverage for the head. But you're using your core to support the back. One more big breath in here, you got this. Lift the elbows even more. And then exhale, release everything. Fingertips come down gently at your side. Awesome work. Okay, so here we're going to bring the palms back and release. If you're in a chair then I'll give you a variation. But if you're on the floor, here's the first variation. So actually I'll give you the chair first. Chair, if you're in a variation you're just going to cross one leg over the other. And then do the same thing that we do on the floor with the neck. So just crossing the legs. If you're on the floor you're going to go windshield wiper legs. 

So bring the feet out wide. Again, hands come behind you. Notice if you've already started to collapse here. See if you can maintain that integrity of that length up through the crown. Cool. Then take a second to just wake up your feet. Dig your heels into the earth. It's all connected. You know, I am really honored to get to make these yoga videos, but, you know, it's all just yoga. Yoga for this, yoga for that. So even though yoga for neck and shoulder release it's like, right, it's connected to the soles of our feet. It's all connected, one moving part. 

All right, that's my spiel. Let's do the dang thing. Bring the knees slowly, so keep the heart lifted over to the left. And then pause. Just notice the sensations of the body there. And then see if you can find more length through the crown here. So that might mean making an adjustment with your hands. It might mean firming the shoulder blades again, lifting the heart. Hey buddy. My assistant. Yeah, he's good at Pranayama. He's good at yoga, all branches. Okay, inhale, lift the chest. So once you find that integrity then you're going to keep this length up through the crown again. Imagine that string pulling you up, very important, very important. And then keep that length, and then look away opposite direction. Then breathe a little deeper. Maybe soften your eyes or your gaze. Make sure you're not clenching or holding in the toes or the fingers. And we breathe here. 

So really reap the benefits of this time, this therapy by breathing deep in and out. And then ground down through the shoulder blades again. Firm them up and find length on that left side of the neck. Careful not to completely collapse the right side. Great, one more breath, inhale. And then find the courage to look back to the center. Okay, great. Rolling through to the other side. I'm going to take a little break off the hands here if you need by coming to Thriller arms or rotating the wrists. And then when you're ready, you know what to do here. Take it to the other side. Again, if you're on a chair you're crossing the legs, kind of like we would at a desk. And looking away. Both of these shapes are pretty awesome if you ask me. So in your own time travel there, listen to your body. Inhale, lift the chest. Imagine that sting. And when you're ready, do your look away. Oh yeah, this side's good.

Great, take two more deep breaths. And then slowly be brave, come back to center, face your fears. Okay, come up off the wrists. If you're in a chair, bring the feet flat to the ground. If you are on the ground, let's go one foot in front of the other. It doesn't matter which one. Again, if you need to come off the wrists or work out the wrists, listen to your body. Take good care. And then when you're ready we're going to interlace the fingertips, open palms, open thumbs, and bring them up and over and behind to just the back of the head. Thumbs come to the neck here. And then inhale, lift the chest, lift the elbows, look up. Open the elbows as wide as you can. See if you can open them even wider, even wider, even wider. Be mindful. And then exhale slowly as you can go. Chin to the chest, rounding the spine. And then you're not pressing with your hands at all. Just kind of letting gravity do the work. And the elbows will come in towards your forehead or your third eye. And you are in control. And I can see a little toothpaste on my shirt. 

Real class act, real classy. Okay, we're here for a good amount of breaths, inviting a release, a surrender. And also taking a moment to just kind of explore or maybe refine, if that speaks to you. Pulling the shoulders a little bit back softly. Relaxing the jaw, the forehead. Close your eyes, breathe. Awesome work. From your core, think Uddiyana Bandha, naval lock. Draw the navel in and up and let that be your cue to slowly roll-up. We're going to come all the way up, the crown of the head lifts up towards the sky. Elbows go super wide one more time. Inhale in, and then exhale big stretch. Have fun with this. Ooh, maybe you yawn. Turn your head one way. And maybe the other.

Make it your own here, a little stretch. Mmmm, awesome. You're going to cross one arm over. It doesn't matter which one. Take it into this little stretch here. Plug the shoulders down and lift your chest. Imagine you're a marionette string. And then switch. Wonderful. Hands come together, Anjali Mudra at the heart. Sit up nice and tall. A humble tucking of the chin, just a little tuck. Close your eyes if you like and listen to the sound of your breath. Acknowledging that the mind and the body are connected. Amazing. Repeat this sequence when you feel like you need to release it. 

A friend of mine, friend and mentor, always is talking to me about how often neck pain is not seeing both sides, or not seeing more than one side to something. So that might be something to look into or consider. And often when we are kind of amping up for summer and workouts we're doing a lot more ab work and just a lot more activity fitness-wise. And that can sometimes manifest in the neck and the shoulders. So repeat this sequence to find length and release. Let it be a physical release but also you can take this opportunity to choose to let go of anything that's not serving you. Just release it with every exhale. Here we go, deep breath in. Lift the thumbs to the third eye. And one last release. We exhale, bowing, head to heart. I swear Benji just sighed right when I did that. That is amazing. I hope the mics picked that up. Alright, namaste, my dear friends. 


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