Yoga Poses for Neck Pain

Yoga Poses for Neck Pain

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Neck pain is extremely common and may be caused by various reasons, such as daily activities that involve repetitive forward movement patterns, poor body posture, or the habit of holding your head in one position while working on a computer, etc.

It doesn’t take a lot to develop pain in the neck area of your body, and it’s easy for that pain to extend to your shoulders and even to your back. Neck pain can also lead to serious headaches and even injury.

But, practicing yoga is an excellent way to get rid of neck pain. The various study found yoga to provide pain relief and functional improvements for people who did yoga for at least nine weeks. Through continuous yoga practice, you can learn to release any tension you’re holding in your body.

Note: Yoga may be useful in treating even chronic neck pain.

Related: Yoga Guide for Beginners

Source: AskDoctorJo

Yoga Poses for Neck Pain Relief

Here are some of the yoga poses that may be beneficial in relieving neck pain.

Yoga Poses for Neck Pain #1: Locust Pose

  1. Focus: Spine; buttocks; arms; legs; belly; neck
  2. Level: Beginner
  3. Sanskrit Name: Salabhasana
  4. Time: 30 seconds to a minute, repeated 2 to 3 times
  5. Indications: Strengthening; stretching; improved pose; abdominal stimulation
  6. Contraindications: Headache; back injuries; neck injuries

The Locust Pose is a warm-up backbend pose that helps beginners prepare for deeper stretches.

It strengthens the back, legs, and arms. It might look simple, but there’s more to it than meets the eye. Mastering this pose will ensure good performance in the coming backbends.

To perform this exercise, you must:

1. Optional: If your surface is too hard, I suggest you roll out a folded blanket or a rug. Otherwise, you might injure your pelvis and ribs.

2. Lie on your belly with your arms resting alongside your torso. Keep your palms up and your forehead resting on the floor.

3. Turn your big toes toward each other to rotate your thighs. Firm your buttocks so that your coccyx presses toward your pubis.

4. Exhale the air from your lungs and then lift your upper torso, head, arms, and legs. In this exercise, you will be resting on your lower ribs, belly, and pelvis.

5. Firm your buttocks, stretching your legs, first through your heels to lengthen your back legs, and then through the bases of your toes. Keep your big toes turned to each other!

6. You must keep your arms raised and parallel to the ground. Stretch back actively up to your fingertips. Imagine you have to keep weight on your upper arms. Press your arms firmly against your back.

7. Keep your head looking forward or upward if your neck allows it.

8. End the pose if you feel too strained. Try to endure between 30 seconds and a minute.

Ideally, you should repeat this pose once or twice after ending.

Beginners might have some problems at first, but there’s no need to rush. You might want to try leaving your hands, palms down, pressing into the floor to give you balance.

Holding the pose for three even breaths should be enough. If you’re feeling too uncomfortable, end.

Yoga Poses for Neck Pain #2: Warrior Pose I

  1. Focus: Chest; shoulders; neck; belly; psoas; arms; thighs; calves; ankles; abdomen
  2. Level: Beginner
  3. Sanskrit Name: Virabhadrasana I
  4. Time: 30 seconds to a minute per side
  5. Indications: Strengthening; stretching
  6. Contraindications: Heart problems; neck injuries; shoulder injuries; high blood pressure

The Warrior Pose I is one of the three celebrated warrior poses of yoga.

It might strike you as silly that these yoga poses are called “warrior” poses, what with yogis being known as pacifists and all that. In this case, the name stems from the spiritual interpretation of a warrior fighting against the universal enemy: Self-ignorance.

In effect, the warrior poses to celebrate the fight of yoga practitioners against the ultimate source of suffering.

This pose stretches the chest, lungs, shoulders, neck, belly, and groins. Constant practice will strengthen your shoulders, arms, back muscles, and calves.

To perform this exercise, you must:

1. Part from the Mountain Pose. Exhale all the air from your lungs and proceed to step your feet about 3-and-a-half or 4 feet apart.

2. Raise your arms perpendicular to the floor in the opposite, parallel directions.

3. Turn your left foot 45° to 60° to the right and your right foot 90° to the right. Align your heels, and then rotate your torso to the right. Try to square your front pelvis as much as you can.

4. If you can’t keep your heels firmly planted, try pressing the head of the left femur back to the ground.

5. Lengthen your coccyx toward the floor and slightly arch your upper torso back.

6. Try to bend your right knee over your right ankle to keep the shin perpendicular to the floor. Do it as much as you can, but if you’re not flexible enough you don’t have to stress your body too much.

7. Lift your arms, stretching strongly to lift your ribcage away from your pelvis. The lift should run up from your back legs, going across your whole body until it reaches your arms. Once your arms are up, bring your palms together.

8. After 30 seconds to a minute, inhale and press your heels firmly into the ground. Straighten your arms and bring them down. Take some breaths, and then switch the positioning of your legs and repeat the exercise.

9. Once you’re done, step back into the Mountain Pose.

Yoga Poses for Neck Pain #3: Cow Pose

  1. Focus: Spine; torso; neck
  2. Level: Beginner
  3. Sanskrit Name: Bitilasana
  4. Time: Up to 2 minutes, spread over all the repetitions
  5. Indications: Stretching; abdominal stimulation
  6. Contraindications: Neck injuries

The Cow Pose is a simple pose to prepare the spine for a good yoga session. It stretches the torso, neck, and spine, as well as provides stimulation to the belly organs.

To perform this exercise, you must:

1. Get down to the floor on all fours, making sure that your knees are directly below your hips. Your wrists, elbows, and shoulders should be in line and perpendicular to the floor.

2. Position your head neutrally, staring at the floor.

3. Inhale and lift your sitting bones and chest toward the ceiling, allowing your belly to go toward the ground. Tilt your head up and look forward.

4. Exhale, and then return to the neutral “tabletop” position on all fours. Repeat between 10 and 20 times, breathing easily as you do.

If your neck is sensitive, keeping it in line with your torso will help you, and so will broadening your shoulder blades down and away from your ears.

Yoga Poses for Neck Pain #4: Cat Pose

  1. Focus: Spine; back; neck
  2. Level: Beginner
  3. Sanskrit Name: Marjaryasana
  4. Time: Up to 20 seconds
  5. Indications: Stretching; abdominal stimulation
  6. Contraindications: Neck injuries

The Cat Pose is a straightforward pose to massage the spine; stretch the torso and neck, and stimulate abdominal organs.

Coupled with the Cow Pose previously covered, the Cat Pose can work miracles on your spine.

To perform this exercise, you must:

1. Go to the floor on your hands and knees, making sure that your knees are set below your hips and wrists, and that your elbows and shoulders are perpendicular to the floor.

2. Set your head in a neutral position, eyes looking down.

3. Exhale and round your spine up, just like cats do when they’re rubbing against their owner’s leg. Your shoulders and knees must remain in position.

4. Release your head down, but don’t force your chin into your chest.

5. Inhale, and then return to the neutral “tabletop” position on your hands and knees.

I suggest you pair this pose with the Cow Pose for a deeper yoga exercise. Try performing the Cow Pose after the inhale, then the neutral position, then the Cat Pose, and so on.

A partner might come in handy if you feel like you can’t round the topmost part of your back. Ask him to lay a hand between your shoulder blades to help you round it.

If your neck is strained or otherwise injured, keep it in line with the torso and try broadening your shoulder blades.

Yoga Poses for Neck Pain #5: Fish Pose

  1. Focus: Belly; neck; back; psoas
  2. Level: Beginner
  3. Sanskrit Name: Matsyasana
  4. Time: 15 to 30 seconds
  5. Indications: Stretching; strengthening; abdominal stimulation; improved pose
  6. Contraindications: Back injuries; neck injuries; low (or high) blood pressure; insomnia; migraine

The Fish Pose is a traditional yoga poses to open the chest; stretch the psoas, intercostals, belly, neck, and back; and stimulate the belly organs.

The ancient texts define this pose as a “disease destroyer”, and it has been linked with many therapeutic applications that range from menstrual pain to respiratory problems.

To perform this exercise, you must:

1. Lie prone on the floor with your knees bent, and soles firmly on the ground.

2. Lift your pelvis off the floor as you inhale, just so that you can slide your hands, palms down, below your buttocks.

3. Rest your buttocks on the backs of your hands. Tuck your forearms and elbows close to the sides of your torso.

4. Press your forearms and elbows evenly into the floor, and then press your shoulder blades against your back.

5. Inhale as you lift your torso once again, bringing your head up. Then release your head down, resting the back or the crown of your head on the floor. Put next to no weight on your head to avoid neck damage.

6. Either keep your knees bent or your legs straightened. Keep your thighs pressed out through the heels if you do the latter.

7. Stay 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. To end, exhale and lower your torso to the floor, then draw your thighs up into your belly.

This backbend pose will serve as the basis for some advanced sequences. Avoid putting yourself in discomfort for too long, and don’t be afraid to end if you feel it hurts. It takes time to master poses like these.

Yoga Poses for Neck Pain #6: Bridge Pose

  1. Focus: Chest; neck; spine; legs
  2. Level: Beginner
  3. Sanskrit Name: Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
  4. Time: 30 seconds to a minute
  5. Indications: Stretching; abdominal stimulation; body relaxation; improved digestion
  6. Contraindications: Neck injuries

The Bridge Pose is an excellent restorative seated pose to rejuvenate the legs; stretch the chest, neck, and spine; stimulate the abdominal organs and lungs, and relieve stress and fatigue.

This pose is recommended for osteoporosis, sinusitis, asthma, and high blood pressure. I suggest you roll out a thickly folded blanket to soften the surface.

To perform this exercise, you must:

1. Lie prone on the floor over the blanket with your knees bent and your soles firmly planted on the ground.

2. Press your feet and arms firmly into the floor. Firm your buttocks as you lift them off the floor.

3. Keep your thighs and feet parallel.

4. Clasp your hands below your pelvis and then extend through your arms to stay on the top of your shoulders.

5. Your thighs should be parallel to the floor, and your knees should be directly over your heels.

6. Lift your pubis toward your navel while you raise your chin away from your sternum.

7. Hold the pose between 30 seconds to 1 minute. End by exhaling as you roll your spine down.

Given the weight placed on the neck and shoulders, those with neck injuries should avoid this pose.

Slide a block or bolster under your sacrum to rest your pelvis on if you’re having a hard time keeping it away from the floor.

Yoga Poses for Neck Pain #7: Half Lord of the Fishes Pose

  1. Focus: Spine; shoulders; hips; neck
  2. Level: Beginner
  3. Sanskrit Name: Ardha Matsyendrasana
  4. Time: 30 seconds to a minute per side
  5. Indications: Stretching; stimulation; body relaxation
  6. Contraindications: Back injuries; spine injuries

The Half Lord of the Fishes Pose is an energizing pose that stimulates the liver, kidneys, and spine; stretches the shoulders, hips, and neck; and relieves fatigue and general discomfort.

I recommend rolling out a folded blanket before starting the pose.

To perform this exercise, you must:

1. Sit on the floor, legs stretched out in front of you, with your buttocks supported on the folded blanket.

2. Bend your knees, plant your soles firmly on the ground, and slide your left foot under your right leg so that it goes outside of your right hip. Lay the outside of your left leg on the ground.

3. Step your right foot over your left leg, and then stand it on the floor outside your left hip so that your right knee points directly up at the ceiling.

4. Twist toward the inside of your right thigh, and then press your right hand against the floor behind your right buttock. Set your left upper arm near your knee, outside of your right thigh. Hug your front torso and inner right thigh together.

5. Push your right foot into the ground and release your right groin. Lean your upper torso back slightly against your shoulder blades as you lengthen your tailbone to the floor.

6. Turn your head by twisting your torso to the left or the right. With every exhale, twist a little more. Distribute your twist along your spine.

7. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute, and then release and switch to the other side and repeat.

Yoga Poses for Neck Pain #8: Supported Shoulder Stand Pose

  1. Focus: Shoulders; neck; legs; buttocks
  2. Level: Intermediate
  3. Sanskrit Name: Salamba Sarvangasana
  4. Time: 30 seconds, up to 3 minutes
  5. Indications: Stretching; toning; improves balance
  6. Contraindications: Diarrhea; headache; high blood pressure; pregnancy; neck injuries

The Supported Shoulder Stand Pose is an inverted yoga pose for the intermediate-advanced yogi that soothes the mind; tones the legs; stretches the shoulders and neck, and improves balance.

For this variation, fold a couple of blankets into firm rectangles and stack them on top of each other.

To perform this exercise, you must:

1. Lie on the blankets with your shoulders supported and parallel to the longer edges and your head resting on the floor.

2. Spread your arms on the floor beside your torso. Bend your knees to set your soles against the floor, heels as close as possible to your sitting bones.

3. Push your arms against the floor as you push your feet away from the ground. This will draw your thighs into your torso.

4. Initially, lift by curling your pelvis, then your back torso. Your knees should come toward your face.

5. Stretch your arms out, parallel to the edge of the blankets, and turn them out so that your fingers press into the floor.

6. Bend your elbows and draw them closer. Lay the back of your upper arms on the blankets and then spread your palms against the back of your torso.

7. Lift your pelvis over your shoulders, keeping your torso somewhat perpendicular to the floor. Walk your hands up your back (toward the ground) without sliding your elbows wider than shoulder-width.

8. Raise your bent knees straight up, centering your thighs with your torso, and hanging your heels down by your buttocks. Push your tailbone toward the pubis, and then turn your upper thighs inward slightly. Inhale and stretch your knees, pushing your heels up toward the ceiling.

9. With the backs of your legs fully lengthened, lift through your big toes so that the inner legs are a bit longer than the outer.

10. Firm your shoulder blades in your back and move your sternum toward your chin. Try keeping your forehead parallel to the floor while your chin is perpendicular. Push the backs of your upper arms and the tops of your shoulders into your blanket support to lift your spine off the ground. Gaze straight up or at your chest.

11. Start slow, holding the pose for just half a minute. Gradually increase your stay (5–10 seconds) every day, or so until you become capable of enduring 3 minutes. Then continue gradually increasing until you can stay 5 minutes.

12. Come down by bending your knees into your torso, and then rolling your back carefully onto the floor with your head resting on the floor.

I advise you not to do this pose on your own, at least the first few times. The risks of injury are very real for those who are not yet ready for this pose.

Yoga Poses for Neck Pain #9: Feathered Peacock Pose

  1. Focus: Arms; back; shoulders; neck; chest; belly
  2. Level: Advanced
  3. Sanskrit Name: Pincha Mayurasana
  4. Time: At least 10 seconds, up to 1 minute
  5. Indications: Stretching; strengthening; improved balance; mental relaxation
  6. Contraindications: Shoulder injuries; back injuries; neck injuries; headache; heart problems; high blood pressure

The Feathered Peacock Pose is an advanced shoulder-stand pose that strengthens the shoulders, arms, and back; stretches the shoulders, neck, chest, and belly; improves balance, and soothes the mind.

To perform this exercise, you must:

1. Part from the Downward Facing Dog Pose, near a wall, with your palms and forehead resting on the ground. Your fingertips should end right at the base of the wall.

2. Keep your forearms parallel and shoulder-width apart.

3. Firm your shoulder blades against your back torso and drag them toward your tailbone. Then rotate your upper arms outward, keeping your shoulder blades broad, and push your forearms inward. Spread your palms and push your inner wrist firmly against the floor.

4. Bend your left knee and step the foot toward the wall. Keep your other leg active by pushing through the heel. Do a few pre-emptive hops before giving the final one.

5. When you do the final hop, draw your front ribs into your torso, reach your tailbone toward your heels, and slide your heels higher up the wall.

6. Drag your navel toward your spine and squeeze your outer legs together. Roll your thighs in.

7. Hold the pose for 10 to 15 seconds. Gradually work your way up to a minute. Come down one foot at a time. Be sure to switch the “kicking” leg with every practice.

Yoga Poses for Neck Pain #10: Upward Lotus Pose

  1. Focus: Arms; shoulders; neck; torso
  2. Level: Advanced
  3. Sanskrit Name: Urdhva Padmasana
  4. Time: 30 seconds to a minute in each stage, holding the last stage up to 3 minutes
  5. Indications: Improves balance; strengthening; stimulation
  6. Contraindications: High blood pressure; spine injuries; elbow injuries

The Upward Lotus Pose is an advanced variation of the Lotus Shoulder stands pose that entails even more resistance.

It strengthens the arms, shoulders, neck, and torso muscles; improves balance and focus; and stimulates the abdominal organs.

To perform this exercise, you must:

1. Part from the Diamond Pose, and then advance into the Headstand Pose.

2. Slowly bring your legs into the lotus while consciously taking control over the balance of your body. Do this by bending your knees forward and then turning your legs outward. Bend your knees slightly toward the pelvis, and then hook your feet together.

3. Keeping your spine upright, lengthen your tailbone toward your pelvis to secure your position. Your elbows should be equidistant so that your weight is evenly distributed.

4. Balance your weight between your head, elbows, forearms, and neck.

5. Hold the pose for 30 seconds to a minute.

6. If you can, turn your pelvis and legs slightly to the left, and hold it for 30 seconds to a minute. You will have to shift more weight onto the right side. Now do the same but to the right side, shifting your weight to the left side.

7. Gradually increase your stay in the neutral position (not turned to either side) for up to 3 minutes.

Source: Cleveland Clinic


Which yoga is good for the neck?

The following yoga poses are considered great for the neck pain:

  1. Locust Pose
  2. Warrior Pose I
  3. Cow Pose
  4. Cat Pose
  5. Fish Pose
  6. Bridge Pose
  7. Half Lord of the Fishes Pose
  8. Supported shoulder stand pose
  9. Feathered Peacock Pose
  10. Upward lotus pose

Note: You can follow a step-by-step guide as mentioned above in this article.

Can yoga help with the neck hump?

Practicing yoga along with regular stretching can help alleviate neck hemp problems and also improve your body posture in the long run.

Does yoga strengthen the neck?

When we let our shoulders relax and continue to breathe in and out. Creating a flow in our yoga practice that incorporates the above-mentioned yoga poses, can help relieve stress and tension in the cervical spine. It can also strengthen the muscles supporting the neck, upper back, and shoulders. This relieves neck pain by aiding in a healthy posture.

How do you loosen tight neck muscles?

You can try Side Rotation to loosen the tight neck muscles.


  1. Keep your head squarely over your shoulders and your back straight.
  2. Slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a stretch in the side of your neck and shoulder.
  3. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, and then slowly turn your head forward again.
  4. Repeat on your left side. Do up to 10 sets.

Why does yoga hurt my neck?

Yoga can hurt one’s neck as it includes various Twisting yoga poses. At times like this, it is best to create your sequence with less testing, and demanding yoga poses to reduce the chances of uncertainties.

For instance: Standing, seated, and supine twists can cause strain to your neck if you’re turning or stretching your neck too far. Some people overstretch the neck to go deeper in the pose, but the twisting action should start at the base of your spine.

Should I do yoga if my neck hurts?

If you have serious neck pain or injury, it is advised to not practice poses that are twisting and challenging in nature. You should avoid the poses that put pressure on your neck as it can worsen the pain or injury. For more, you should consult a professional for a step-by-step guide.

There are a lot of people with neck pain that take yoga sessions. That’s a serious consideration, and you should not place your body weight on your neck if your neck hurts.

Also Read: Physical Activity: The Mental Health Benefits of Physical Exercise

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