Yoga for The Neck: Top 5 Yoga Poses for Neck Stiffness

Yoga for The Neck: Top 5 Yoga Poses for Neck Stiffness

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In this article, we’ll explore effective yoga for the neck, so keep on reading to find out some of the simplest yet effective yoga poses for neck stiffness that can be performed anywhere, some even right at your desk.

We all keep running behind jobs that can easily replace us in just a week. Sure, you get the money in return and you get to have the lifestyle of your choice but it all comes with the price of your health.

Excessive stress and tension take a major toll on your health. Out of all the body parts, the neck is not only the most tender part but also the first part of the body that catches all the stress.

Our lifestyle and professional life demand us to constantly keep slouching over the laptops and stay glued to the computer screens for a long duration. This creates undue pressure on the neck muscles that causes neck pain, better known as Cervicalgia in medical terms.

To deal with the neck pain more effectively, one must:

  1. Have a good posture
  2. Reduce the tension and stress levels
  3. Practice Yoga

(Related: Warm-Up Yoga: Top 5 Warm-Up Yoga Poses for Winter)

I.      Yoga for The Neck: Top 5 Yoga Poses for Neck Stiffness

Yoga for The Neck Pose #1: The Cat

  1. Focus: Neck and Back Torso
  2. Level: Beginner
  3. Total Time: N/A
  4. Indications: digestion, stimulates kidneys and adrenal glands
  5. Contraindications: modifications for a neck injury

The cat pose stretches your back and neck while gently massaging your stomach and spine.  It is often paired with the cow pose. Individuals with a neck injury must keep their heads carefully extended straight out from a straight neck throughout this pose. 

Yoga Poses for Neck Stiffness Steps:

  1. Begin on all fours, with your spine neutral (straight) and your neck long.  If you have a neck injury, you will keep your head and neck in this neutral position throughout the exercise.  Your knees will be hip-width apart, directly under your hips.  
  2. Your hands will be placed directly beneath your shoulders, with your fingers pointing forward.  Do NOT lock your elbows.  If you have a wrist injury, slightly flexing your arms at the elbow will provide additional support.  If your injury doesn’t allow you to bear weight on your wrists, rest your forearms on a chair or another slightly raised surface.  Breathe in. 
  3. As you breathe out, allow your head to droop until it hangs relaxed.  At the same time, press your belly button up toward your spine, pushing your back into a hump, like a cat arching its back.  This will tuck in your tailbone and tilt the bottom of your pelvis forward. 
  4. Breathe in as you return to the neutral position.
  5. Repeat the cat stretch five times.  Over time, you can increase your repetitions up to 20 times in a single setting. 

Yoga for The Neck Pose #2: Dolphin Plank

  1. Focus: Neck
  2. Level: Intermediate
  3. Total Time: 30 to 60 seconds
  4. Indications: stress, depression, osteoporosis (preventative)
  5. Contraindications: modification for a shoulder injury, neck injury

The dolphin plank works your neck muscles and stretches your lower legs, shoulders, and arches.  It builds strength in your legs, arms, and core muscles.  Regular performance of this pose can reduce the likelihood of developing osteoporosis. It offers stress relief and has been found helpful in treating depression.

Yoga Poses for Neck Stiffness Steps:

  1. Begin in the dolphin pose:  Stand on your hands and knees.  Place your forearms flat on the ground with your elbows aligned with your shoulders.  Clasp your hands together and firmly press your forearms into the ground.  Press your hips up to the sky until your legs are straight. 
  2. Bend your knees and step your feet behind you until your legs are straight. Your body will be parallel to the ground.  Your shoulders should stay directly above your elbows.  If you have a shoulder injury, use blankets to support your torso.  If you have a neck injury, support your forehead on a yoga block or a chair seat.
  3. Press your forearms and elbows into the ground. Activate your shoulder blades across your back and spread them outward.  Expand your collarbones as well. 
  4. Push your thighs toward the sky while elongating your legs from your tailbone to the soles of your feet.  Pull your belly button up toward your spine, resisting the urge to let your back sag.  Lift your head from the back of your neck until it is parallel to the ground and gaze straight downward.   
  5. Remain here for several breaths.  To release yourself, breathe out and allow your knees to release to the ground, then lower your chest, bringing your arms down to your sides, resting face down on the ground.  Let your muscles relax as you continue to breathe slowly and deeply.

Yoga for The Neck Pose #3: The Fish

  1. Focus: Neck
  2. Level: Beginner
  3. Total Time: 15 to 30 seconds 
  4. Indications: constipation, menstrual pain, backaches, exhaustion, anxiety, respiratory conditions
  5. Contraindications: blood pressure (high or low), restlessness, migraine, major neck injury, or lower back injury

The fish will build strength in the back of your neck and your upper back while stretching your throat, the front of your neck, your deep hip flexors, and your rib muscles. Ancient texts claim that the performance of this pose can assist in naturally destroying diseases.  Modern research shows that regular performance can help improve your posture. 

Experts also claim it can offer relief for constipation, menstrual-related pain, backaches, exhaustion, anxiety, and respiratory conditions.  Individuals with blood pressure problems, restlessness, a migraine, or a major neck or lower back injury should avoid this pose.

Yoga Poses for Neck Stiffness Steps:

  1. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground.  Breathe in, raise your abdomen off the ground and place your hands beneath your hips, palms up.  Lower your hips on top of your hands with your elbows and forearms close to your body. 
  2. Breathe in and push your elbows and forearms into the ground.  Press your shoulder blades up into your back.  Breathe in again and raise your upper body and head off the ground.  Allow the top of your head to tilt back and touch the ground but avoid crunching your neck.  Keep your knees bent. 
  3. Stay in this position for 15 to 30 seconds and breathe consistently.  To release from this pose, breathe out, raise your head and lower your upper body to the ground before letting your headrest on the ground as well.  Bring your knees to your stomach and squeeze them with your hands as you allow your back muscles to relax.

(Also Read: Zen Wellness: Mental Health And Wellness Measurement)

Yoga for The Neck Pose #4: The Ear to Shoulder

  1. Focus: Neck
  2. Level: Beginner
  3. Total Time: 10 times per side
  4. Indications:  –
  5. Contraindications: neck injury, shoulder injury

The ear to shoulder pose stretches your neck, your trapezius, and your shoulder muscles.  You can easily perform it anywhere, sitting or standing, provided you keep your spine straight throughout.  Individuals with a neck or shoulder injury should avoid this pose.

Yoga Poses for Neck Stiffness Steps:

  1. Begin by sitting or standing with a straight spine.  Inhale. 
  2. Relax your arms and gaze straight ahead.  Exhale as you lower your right ear toward your right shoulder. Do not tilt your head forward or backward.   
  3. To extend this stretch (optional), place your right hand atop your head.  Do not pull, but let the weight of your arm add to the stretch.  Return your arm to your side. 
  4. Breathe in and raise your head to the starting position.   
  5. Take a breath, then repeat this process to the left.

Yoga for The Neck Pose #5: The Corpse

  1. Focus: Neck
  2. Level: Beginner
  3. Total Time: 5 minutes per every half hour of yoga 
  4. Indications: neck pain, stress, depression, high blood pressure
  5. Contraindications: modification for a lower back injury

The purpose of the corpse is to calm your entire body. It offers relief to problems related to neck pain such as restlessness, exhaustion, and headaches.  The corpse can lower your blood pressure and treat cases of stress and depression. 

Pregnant women should perform this pose with their chest and head raised on a means of support.  Individuals with a lower back injury should keep their knees bent and their feet flat on the ground at a comfortable distance from their hips throughout.  

Yoga Poses for Neck Stiffness Steps:

  1. Begin by sitting on the ground with your knees bent and your feet touching the ground.  Lean your body back and support yourself on your forearms.  Bearing the weight of your torso on your hands, slightly raise your abdomen from the ground and press it into your tailbone 
  2. Breathe in and gently stretch your right leg out followed by your left, extending each leg through the soles of your feet.  Relax your legs and your groin and ensure that your legs extend in line with your torso. Let your feet relax and turn out as they will.  Tighten your abdomen and ease your lower back down onto the ground, followed by your shoulders and then your head.   
  3. Use your hands to gently stretch the bottom of your skull away from your neck; stretch your spine down from the base of your neck into your tailbone.  Your head should rest straight from all angles, facing straight up, and not tilted toward either shoulder.
  4. Extend your arms straight up toward the sky.  Gently sway your torso back and forth to widen your ribs and separate your shoulder blades from your spine.  Relax your arms until they rest on the ground by your sides with your palms facing up.  
  5. Stretch your arms outward from your shoulder blades to your fingertips. Feel how your shoulder blades connect with the ground; their contact and pressure should be even.  Visualize the ends of your shoulder blades rising crosswise into your back near the top of your chest.   
  6. Expand your collarbones.  Allow your organs to ease up, including your tongue, nose wings, inner ears, and forehead.  Let your eyes relax and stare toward your chest.  Ease and relax your brain. 
  7. Remain in this pose for five minutes per every half hour of yoga. 
  8. To release yourself from this position, breathe out and roll onto your right side.  Take a couple of breaths.  Exhale and press your hands into the ground to raise your body. 

II.   Conclusion:

Patience, proper commitment, repetition, and last but not least consistency are the core skills that you have to develop to progress in the practice of yoga.

Moreover, keep these points in mind, too:

  1. Be consistent. A regular schedule of yoga classes or home practices is highly crucial.
  2. Gradually increase the yoga session length and the number of days in a week that you practice.
  3. You can also attend yoga workshops for additional improvements or seminars that focus on specific traits of yoga practices in further depth.
  4. You can also maintain a journal for the effects that you are experiencing through a consistent yoga practice.
  5. Initiating is the first and the bravest step; you can learn so much about yoga for further advancement and enjoy benefits for your mind, body, and heart.
  6. Make sure to have a source of inspiration so you can keep progressing.
  7. Have friends or make yoga friends and get indulged with other yogis.
  8. Have a yogic lifestyle.
  9. Actions are really important; whatever you have learned, try to put that knowledge into action to enjoy real benefits.

(Also Read: Top 10 Yoga Poses for Back Pain)

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