Neck pain affects millions of Americans and is a common occurrence of daily life. Finding a natural method to reduce neck pain may seem nearly impossible, but you’ll be happy to hear that it is possible through yoga. Pain can occur for many reasons, but yoga can help with all types of pain in your neck.
While there are many treatment options for reducing neck pain, many come with unpleasant side effects and may not work long term. Not only will the pain come back once the medication wears off, but the pain can also work its way into your head, shoulders, and back.
Yoga, on the other hand, can reduce neck pain naturally, avoiding the negative side effects of regular medication. With regular practice, yoga can help with neck pain long term, allowing you a permanent reprieve from the issue.
Yoga Poses For Neck Pain
1. Standing Forward Bend
To do this pose, you will stand with your feet directly below your hips. Then, as you lengthen your body and keep your knees bent slightly, fold your body in half. You will want to touch the floor but if you can’t, you can touch your ankles or a block placed on the floor.
Once you’re in position, you will tuck your chin to your chest and fully relax your neck. While doing this pose, you can gently move your head around to further release tension in your neck. Hold this pose for one minute or longer, and then roll your spine back up, bringing your arms and head up last.
2. Triangle Pose
For this pose, you will begin standing with your feet hip-width apart. Then, you’ll take one step forward, making one foot leg distance apart from the other foot.
Next, you will turn one foot (the front one) so that the outside of your foot is parallel to the long side of your yoga mat. Your other foot (the back foot) should be turned so that it is at a 30 to 45-degree angle to your front foot. Then, make sure that both of your heels are lined up with one another.
Once you have both feet in place, you will inhale while reaching your arms straight out with one arm in front of you and one behind you. Then you will exhale and bend from your hip. Your right hip should be stretched over your right leg.
You aren’t done with that step, however. Next, you will reach the hand that is straight out in front down to your ankle, shin, foot, or toes. You could even put a block near your foot if that is easier. When you do this, you will want to slightly bend your front knee and rotating the thigh towards the same side little toe.
You will then rotate your head to look at your other hand, which should now be in the air above you. Once you’ve done this with one side of the body, rotate and do the exact same thing but in the opposite direction.
3. Cat Cow
You start this pose by getting down on all fours, making sure your hands are directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
You will begin with the cow position, inhaling while filling your belly with air and lowering it towards the floor. As you do this, you will look up at the ceiling and let your head and neck relax for a few seconds while also stretching your shoulder blades outwards.
After that, you will move your body into the cat position while exhaling, pulling your belly in toward your spine and arching your back into the air. Lower your head so that you are looking at the floor, but be careful not to put your chin to your chest.
You will repeat these poses 5-20 times, inhaling into the cow pose and exhaling into the cat pose.
4. Cow Face
Begin by kneeling down, and then cross your right leg over the other, just above the knee. Put the top of your right foot on the floor next to your left ankle before exhaling and sitting back onto the heels of your feet. While keeping your thighs and feet together, focus on your breathing.
Sit as straight as you can, and lower your chin slightly. Then, inhale while lifting your head and tipping it back slightly. Roll your left shoulder forward and reach it behind your back. Place the back of your hand flat on your back.
While leaving your left hand where it is, you will roll your right shoulder backward, putting your hand over your shoulder, eventually clasping it together with your left hand. Once you’ve clasped your hands together, you will pull in opposite directions while breathing in and out. Hold this pose, continuing to pull in opposite directions for at least 30 seconds. As you release this pose, you will inhale and switch to the opposite side of your body.
5. Half Lord of the Fishes
Begin by sitting down and bringing one foot along the floor to the outside of the opposite hip. Then, cross your other leg over so that the opposite foot is flat on the floor. Sit up as straight as possible and twist the top of your body in the direction of the foot that is near your hip.
When you twist your body, look over each shoulder to stretch the muscles in your neck and upper back. Stay in this position for at least one minute, and then switch to the other side.
First, lie down on your stomach, bend your elbows, and put your hands flat on the floor next to your shoulders. Using your palms and forearms, lift your upper body and head while also tightening your back, butt, and thighs.
Be sure to keep facing straight ahead and lengthening your spine. You will hold this pose for at least two minutes.
7. Puppy Pose
Start by getting down on all fours, keeping your wrists below your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Move your hands forward to the edge of your yoga mat and lift your heels so that your toes are the only part of your foot on the mat.
Next, bring your butt down about halfway while resting your forehead on the yoga mat or floor. Stay in this position until your neck is completely relaxed. Then, press with your palms, stretch your arms and bring your hips toward your heels.
Hold this position for at least one minute before releasing.
8. Legs Up the Wall
This is a super simple pose, but that doesn’t mean that the benefits are any less effective. You can do this by pretending there is a wall against you, or you can actually use a wall as support.
Begin in a seated position and, if you are using a real wall, lie down while putting your legs up against the wall. If you are not using a real wall, simply put your legs straight up in the air while you are lying on your back. Hold this position for as long as you comfortably can, but no longer than 20 minutes.
This pose is perfect for the end of the day when you need to let go of the stress and tension of the day. You will lie on your back and spread your feet slightly wider than your hips. Relax your feet and allow your toes to fall out to the side.
Next, you will lie your arms beside your body with your palms facing upward. Make sure that your body is aligned from your head all the way down your spine. Simply focus on deep breathing and releasing any tension for 5 or more minutes.
10. Child’s Pose
Similar to the puppy pose, child’s pose involves getting down on all fours to begin. As you exhale, you should lower your hips toward your heels while reaching along the floor with your hands. Your arms should remain in front of you the entire time.
Continue lowering your hips until you no longer feel comfortable. Do the same with your arms, extending your shoulders and lowering your forehead to the yoga mat.
11. Seated Twist
While sitting comfortably on the floor, extend your legs straight out. Bend your right knee and then cross the right foot over to the outside of your leg.
Sit straight, inhale, and place your left arm straight out. Then exhale while wrapping your left arm around your bent knee. Next, put your right hand on your yoga mat near your tailbone and turn your face in that direction.
While taking steady, deep breaths, twist your body gently. You shouldn’t feel discomfort while doing this pose, so if you experience any, you should adjust your position or try a different pose. Finish by repeating the pose on the other side.
12. Ear to Shoulder
As long as your spine is straight, you can do this pose either standing or sitting. You should look straight ahead and keep your arms at your sides. Take a deep breath and exhale as you lower your right ear to your shoulder. While inhaling, slowing raise your head to the center, and then repeat the process on the left side of your body.
Final Thoughts On Yoga Poses to Reduce Neck Pain
Any kind of pain is awful, but having pain in your neck can be one of the worst kinds. Luckily, you can reduce neck pain in natural ways. Even better, with some poses, you can do it no matter where you are.
Through the use of yoga, neck pain can be instantly reduced. Over time, if you regularly practice these poses, you may even be able to eliminate neck pain entirely. Either way, you’re likely to see results!
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