Winter & Being Cold is a Pain in the Neck

Yoga Poses To Help Cervical Spine & Neck Issues

For pain relief at any time, here are some yoga poses that will free up all of the areas surrounding your neck, and let you feel more open and less tense:

Shoulder Opener on Blocks

Still kneeling, place two blocks in front of you and place your elbows on the blocks.
Press your hands together in a prayer position, then release your head in between the blocks and reverse the prayer down your back. Stay here for at least 10 deep breaths.

Supported Fish Pose

While sitting, place a medium-height block behind you vertically beneath where your shoulder blades will lay and place another block behind that one vertically to use as a pillow for your head. (Use lower blocks if this height doesn't feel great on your back.)
Allow your body to gently rest on the blocks, adjusting their placement until you are comfortable, with arms resting on either side.  Stay here for at least five deep breaths.

Cow Face Arms

While kneeling, reach your right arm to the ceiling; bend your right elbow, and allow your right hand to fall between your shoulder blades.  Take your left hand to your right elbow and allow the weight of the hand to deepen the shoulder opening (no pushing!).  You can stay here for five deep breaths, leaning back slightly, or, if the clasp is easy for you, take your left arm down, bend the elbow, and reach your left hand up the center of your back, taking hold of the right hand. Stay here for five deep breaths, leaning back slightly into your arms and taking care that the right arm isn't putting any pressure on your neck.

8-Point Shoulder Opener

Start lying on the ground on your belly, reach your right arm out at a 90 degree angle from your body, palm facing up, use your left hand under your shoulder to start to press away, and maybe bend your left knee and reach your left toes behind your right knee if tipping/rolling over feels good.   If you want to reach your left arm to the ceiling, flex the palm and allow the hand to fall towards the ground with gravity, stay there for as long as you like. If you feel like you have even more space, allow your left hand to meet the right in a clasp and breathe there for as long as feels good.  Warning: this is a deep one, come out of the pose as slowly and mindfully as you come in!

Standing Forward Fold With Shoulder Opener

From standing, clasp your hands behind your sacrum, soften through your knees and forward fold.
Breathe here for five to ten deep breaths.

Seated Spinal Twist
Sit with legs long in front of you. Bend right knee and place right foot outside of left knee. (You can keep left leg long or fold it in like a half-cross-legged seat.)   Wrap left arm around right leg and place right hand on the ground behind sacrum.  Breathe here for 5 deep breaths, then repeat on the other side.

Shoulder Opener At Wall
Place your forearms on the wall parallel to one another below shoulder height, keeping your elbows shoulder-distance apart.   Take a few steps back from the wall and allow your head to relax down between your arms.  Breathe here for five deep breaths.

Thread The Needle

From all fours, reach your right arm underneath your body, allowing your right shoulder and temple to release to the ground. Your left hand can stay where it is, or crawl a bit to the right over your head.  Breathe here for 10 deep breaths, and then repeat on the other side.

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