7 yoga poses for neck and shoulder tension


When you are under stress, you may experience neck and shoulder pain but that’s not the only cause. The cold temperature in winter is also one of the causes of neck and shoulder pain. When mercury drops, it causes muscles to contract and reduces blood flow in the body, which, as a result, increases stiffness. The problem can be exacerbated by the poor posture of which we are all guilty. Fortunately, practicing yoga poses for neck and shoulder pain alleviates tightness, enhances mobility, and promotes better posture by stretching the spine.

Neck and shoulder pain can stem from various factors, which are often interlinked as well. Apart from cold weather, other causes that may exacerbate discomfort and pain may include sitting for longer periods, poor joint health, improper sleep position, and inadequate pillow support. Performing these yoga poses can improve your posture and increase flexibility and overall strength. Health Shots got in touch with yoga and spiritual leader Himalayan Siddhaa Akshar to find the best yoga poses to relieve neck and shoulder tension.

7 yoga poses to relieve neck and shoulder pain in winter

1. Shoulder rolls

Start with the basics. Simple yet highly effective, shoulder rolls are an excellent warm-up. This pose helps to increase circulation, reduce stiffness, and release tension from the neck and shoulders.

How to perform it?

  • Stand or sit comfortably and relax your arms by your sides.
  • Gently roll your shoulders forward and backward in a circular motion.
  • After a few rotations, switch to rolling them backward.
  • Focus on breathing deeply, allowing the movement to be slow and controlled.

Also read: Yoga for Flexibility: A 5-minute yoga flow to get rid of stiff muscles

2. Cat cow stretch (Marjarasana)

A staple in many yoga practices, the cat-cow stretch is renowned for enhancing flexibility and releasing tension along the spine and neck.

How to perform it?

  • Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
  • Inhale as you arch your back, dropping your belly towards the mat and lifting your head and tailbone.
  • Exhale and get into the cat pose by rounding your spine and bringing your chin to your chest.
  • Repeat this flow several times, syncing your breath with the movement to promote relaxation.
cat cow pose
This yoga pose is great to get relief from shoulder and neck pain. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

3. Eagle arms (Garudasana Arms)

Eagle arms is a seated pose that specifically targets the shoulders and upper back.

How to perform it?

  • Sit comfortably and raise your arms to shoulder height.
  • Cross your right arm under the left, bringing your palms together.
  • Lift your elbows, feeling a stretch between the shoulder blades.
  • Hold for several breaths, then switch arms.

4. Bridge pose (Setu Bandhasana)

Bridge pose not only strengthens the spine but also stretches and rejuvenates the neck and shoulders.

How to perform it?

  • Lie on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet hip-width apart.
  • Press through your feet to lift your hips towards the ceiling.
  • Clasp your hands under your back and roll your shoulders under, creating a supportive arch.
  • Hold the pose, breathing deeply to release tension in the shoulders and neck.

5. Seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana)

To unwind tension in the neck and shoulders, a seated forward bend is an excellent choice. This pose stretches your body and promotes flexibility.

How to perform it?

  • Sit with your legs extended in front of you and your feet flexed.
  • Inhale as you lengthen your spine, then exhale and hinge at your hips, reaching toward your toes.
  • Allow your neck to relax, and feel the stretch along your spine and the back of your legs.
Yoga asanas for fat loss
It can ease neck and shoulder tension. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

6. Child’s pose (Balasana)

A restorative pose that targets the shoulders, Child’s Pose is a go-to for relieving tension. It stretches your spine, and relaxes your back.

How to perform it?

  • Kneel on the mat, sitting back on your heels.
  • Slowly lower your torso forward, reaching your arms out in front of you.
  • Rest your forehead on the mat and let your chest sink towards the floor.

7. Corpse pose (Savasana)

While seemingly simple, Savasana is a powerful pose for overall relaxation and easing neck and shoulder pain.

How to perform it?

  • Lie down on your back, arms at your sides, palms facing up, and legs extended.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
  • Allow your body to relax completely, releasing any remaining tension.

Apart from promoting relaxation and alleviating tension in the neck and shoulders in winter, these yoga poses can also help strengthen your body. If possible, try to indulge in meditation regularly, it will help calm your mind and reduce stress.

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