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Yoga Poses That Loosen Up Your Traps, Neck, and Shoulders

Seated Side Bend with Neck Opener

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  • Begin in easy seat pose with arms relaxed on either side of you.
  • Reach left arm long to the ceiling, on the side of your face.
  • Take right hand to the ground and crawl it over to the right, allowing right forearm to move toward the ground, then lean torso to the right.
  • Turn chin up and then down and find the position that feels the tightest. Breathe there for 5 to 10 deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Photo: Fredy Soberanis

Puppy Pose Variation

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  • Begin on all fours. Walk hands a few inches forward and come on to fingertips.
  • Tuck toes and allow hips to fall back toward heels.
  • Allow forehead to drop to the ground.
  • Hollow out armpits and actively engage shoulder blades down and together on back. Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Photo: Fredy Soberanis

Thread the Needle

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  • Begin on all fours. Reach right arm underneath body, allowing the right shoulder and temple to release to the ground.
  • Allow left hand to stay where it is or crawl it a bit to the right over to your head.
  • Stay here for 5 to 10 deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Photo: Fredy Soberanis

Half Cow Face Arms with Neck Opener

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  • Kneel and reach right arm to the ceiling. Bend right elbow and allow right hand to fall between shoulder blades.
  • Take left hand to right elbow and allow weight of hand to deepen the shoulder opening (no pushing!).
  • From here, turn head slightly up and then down, and find the place where the neck feels the tightest.
  • Stay here for 5 to 10 deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Photo: Fredy Soberanis

Eagle Arms

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  • Begin seated any way that is comfortable (you can do this in your desk chair if you like).
  • Wrap right arm under left arm, take forearms together, and press palms together, fingertips facing up.
  • Reach elbows up to shoulder height, fingertips facing away from you to deepen the shoulder opening.
  • Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths. Repeat on the other side.

Photo: Fredy Soberanis

Reverse Prayer

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  • Sit comfortably. Float arms down to either side of body and bend elbows to reach arms behind back.
  • Press palms together in a prayer position on spine and reach hands as high up spine as feels good. Press elbows back so that forearms create one line.
  • Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Photo: Fredy Soberanis

Dolphin Pose

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  • Begin on hands and knees. Hold opposite elbows to get shoulder's distance, then place forearms parallel to one another.
  • Drop head and reach chest back through arms in the direction of your feet to enhance shoulder opening.
  • Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Photo: Fredy Soberanis

Wide-Legged Forward Fold with Clasp

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  • Stand with feet wide apart, clasp hands behind back, and take a big inhale to open chest.
  • On the exhale, soften knees and fold forward, letting head fall toward the ground.
  • Keep shoulders away from your ears. Do your best not to shrug them.
  • For a deeper shoulder opening, press the meat of your palms together. Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.

Photo: Fredy Soberanis

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