Simple Yoga Poses That Offer Neck Pain Relief
Begin on all fours with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Inhale and look up with an arched spine, rolling shoulders away from ears for cow. As you exhale, press the floor away with hands and knees. Round spine and roll shoulders forward, like an angry cat. Do at least 5 complete breath cycles (5 inhales/cats and 5 exhales/cows).
See also: Yoga Poses for Better Posture
Standing Forward Fold Variation
Stand in mountain pose. Take a deep inhale to reach arms up overhead, framing face. Use exhale to engage navel to spine and swan dive over legs with a flat back. Grab hold of opposite elbows and hang, swaying side to side (if comfortable) to loosen lower back. Press all four corners of both feet into the ground and lift sitz bones toward the ceiling. Relax head and neck, and for this variation, soften knees. Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.
Dolphin at Wall
Place forearms on the wall parallel to one another below shoulder height, fingertips up, keeping elbows shoulder-distance apart. Take a few steps back from the wall and allow head to relax down between arms. Torso should be parallel to the ground. Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.
Begin seated kneeling, or any way that's comfortable. 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 and repeat on other side.
Supported Fish Pose Variation
While sitting on the ground with legs in front of you, place a medium-height block behind you beneath where shoulder blades will lie. Bend knees and place feet on the ground, hip-width apart. Using arms, slowly lower upper back to gently rest on the block, adjusting placement until you are comfortable. Ideally, the block is where your bra line would be. Next, clasp hands behind head and allow elbows and head to release toward the ground. Allow knees to fall away from one another toward the ground, keeping feet together. Stay here for at least 10 deep breaths.
Cow Face Pose
Begin on hands and knees. Cross right knee in front left, winging feet out to either side. Very gently use hands to bring sitz bones to the ground inside of heels. Reach left arm high, and bend the elbow so left hand falls between shoulder blades. Reach right hand up your back, bending right elbow, to clasp left hand. If your hands don't reach, you can grab the back of your shirt or use a strap. Stay upright for a deep breath, then hinge forward from your hips to fold forward. Breathe here for 5 deep breaths, releasing the arms if your shoulders begin to tense. Repeat on the other side.
Begin standing, or seated in a kneeling position. Allow arms to relax down to either side of body and, bending elbows, reach arms behind back. First, take fingertips to touch, then, press palms together in prayer position on spine and reach hands as high up on the spine as feels good. Stay for 5 to 10 deep breaths.
Supine Spinal Twist
Lie on back. Hug right knee into chest. Take left hand to outer right thigh, and guide right knee to the left. Reach right arm out to the side, on the ground. You can stay with a neutral neck or, if it feels good, look to the right. You can keep left hand on right thigh to allow its weight to ground the right leg, or if you prefer, reach left arm long to the left so arms make one long line. Stay here for 5 to 10 deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.