Yoga for Neck Pain – Poses and Adjustments

Yoga for Neck Pain

Yoga for arthritis helps to strengthen the joints and increase flexibility. It also tends to soothe the tensed points of the joint. 

In this day and age of the modern world, neck discomfort is quite prevalent and has several potential causes. These include bad posture, sleeping in an uncomfortable posture, injuries or muscular strains, using computers for extended periods, aging-related wear and tear of the neck’s bones, and wear and tear of the spinal discs, also known as cervical spondylosis.


How Yoga Relieves Neck Pain

Neck pain may quickly spread to the shoulders and back. Nausea, weakness, or migraines might result from neck discomfort. Technology-driven lifestyles and occupations force us to spend a lot of time hunched over our desktops. This pressure on our neck muscles results in neck pain, otherwise known as cervicalgia in medical terms.

Yoga for neck pain, is a practical approach to relieve chronic neck pain and neck stiffness. To overcome the stiffness, performing yoga and consistent stretching in the morning is recommended.

It is essential to remind oneself to practice neck stretches throughout the day and in between work, especially if one tends to have a sedentary lifestyle. Performing two or three sets of stretches throughout the day will increase the range of motion and relieve soreness.


Yoga Poses For Neck Pain

Yoga for neck pain incorporates rotation, flexion, extension, and lateral flexion, which are essential motions for daily activity. The best yoga poses for relieving neck pain are as follows:


Neck V Rotation
Yoga for Neck Pain(Neck V Rotation)

  1. Comfortably sit in any meditative posture on the mat or in a chair.
  2. Lengthen the spine and roll back the shoulders.
  3. Exhale and bring the chin down to touch the chest.
  4. From this position, Inhale and move the neck to the right side.
  5. Exhale rai, see the face to the middle, and bring the chin to touch the chest.
  6. Inhale and move the neck to the left side.
  7. Exhale and then come back to the center, keeping the chin close to your chest.
  8. Release and bring the head back to the neutral position.


Easy Neck Rotation
Yoga for Neck Pain(Easy Neck Rotation)

  1. Sit on a chair or the mat in a comfortable position.
  2. Take a deep inhale.
  3. Exhale, and spin the neck clockwise two to three times. 
  4. Take a brief interval.
  5. Repeat the motion clockwise for another two to three times.
  6. Return the head to its neutral position to release. 


Neck Side Stretch 
Yoga for Neck Pain (Neck Side Stretch )

  1. Comfortable sitting on a yoga mat or a chair.
  2. Sit up straight. Keep the head, neck, and back lengthened
  3. Breathe in and place the right palm over the head over the left ear.
  4. Exhale and slightly dip the right shoulder to give your neck a lovely side stretch.
  5. Hold for 3 deep breaths
  6. Exhale to return to the neutral position and release the stretch.
  7. Continue the same with the other side.


Rabbit Pose
Yoga for Neck Pain (Rabbit Pose)

  1. Kneel on the mat.
  2. Start with the knees hip-distance apart. Place the tips of the feet down.
  3. Inhale and extend your hand back to cup your heels or to clasp the ankles.
  4. Exhale and bend forward to rest the top of the head on the floor.
  5. Lower the chin near the middle of the collarbones.
  6. Maintain an average pace of breath for 30 seconds in this position.
  7. To release the pose, bring the head up and come to sit in the kneeling posture in Vajrasana by lowering the buttocks back toward the heels.


Cat and cow stretch
Yoga for Neck Pain (Cat and cow stretch)

  1. Starting on all fours, place your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips to perform the cat-cow stretch. 
  2. Breathe in as you drop your belly, arch your back, and raise your head (Cow Pose). 
  3. Breathe while bending your back and bringing your chin to your chest (Cat Pose). 


Cow Face Pose
Cow Face Pose

  1. Sit in the Dandasan pose and extend the legs in front.
  2. Move your right heel over to the left hip’s side and align the left heel with your right hip.
  3. Elongate the spine
  4. Inhale, raises the arm. Exhale, bend the left elbow to rest the hand on the back.
  5. Lift the right arm, bend the elbow so that it faces the ground, and clasp the fingers together.
  6. Avoid letting the head lean forward. Maintain an upright spine.
  7. Hold for 8-10 breaths. And gently release the hands. 
  8. Repeat with the other side.


Half Lord of the Fish Pose
Half-Fish Pose

  1. Take a seat with the legs out in front of you
  2. Place the left foot on the outside of your right thigh and bend the left knee. 
  3. Grasp your left knee with your right hand and turn your body slightly to the left, 
  4. glancing over your left shoulder. 
  5. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat with the other side.


Yoga Poses For Neck And Shoulder Pain

Due to nerve compression neck pain might lead to shoulder discomfort. Yoga for shoulder pain and yoga for neck pain helps to stretch the rotator cuff and shoulder muscles which soothes the pain. 


Shoulder Circle
Shoulder Circle

  1. Take a comfortable seat on a mat or a chair.
  2. Inhale and begin to roll the shoulders up toward the ears slowly and back down in a smooth, forward, circular motion.
  3. Perform this motion for 3-5 times.
  4. Come to the neutral sitting posture.
  5. Inhale and slowly roll the shoulders up towards the ears and back down in a backward circular motion.
  6. Perform for 3-5 times.


Extended Puppy Pose
Extended Puppy Pose

  1. Come to your fours in the tabletop position.  
  2. Extend your hands forward and lower the body until you can release your head onto the floor while maintaining the hip position. 
  3. Separate the shoulder blades and widen the shoulders. 

Cobra Pose
Cobra Pose

  1. Lie face down on the mat. Place legs at a hip-width distance.
  2. Place your palms down, just below the shoulder blades. Bend the elbows.
  3. As you take a breath, raise the upper body by pulling your chest away from the floor.
  4. Maintain comfortable inhalation and exhalation and hold for 15-30 mins. 
  5. Lower down gently as you exhale.


Revolved Cobra Pose

Revolved Cobra Pose
  1. Maintain balance as you raise the upper body in cobra pose.
  2. Carefully rotate the head and upper body to the left side. Look at the heel of the opposite foot. 
  3. Hold this position for 5 deep breaths.
  4. Slowly rotate the head in the middle. Exhale and return the body to the floor.
  5. Again, raise the upper body and rotate the head to the right side. 
  6. Hold the position for 5 deep breaths.
  7. Exhale and release the posture.


Modifications for Neck Yoga

Ensuring safety and proper alignment is essential when practicing neck stretches. Pay attention to the body and adjust stretches as necessary, or perform the stretches under the guidance of a medical professional or a yoga expert. The following are some ways how you can modify yoga poses for neck pain.


Prevent Overstretching

Stretch your neck gently and avoid any rapid or abrupt motions that might strain the neck muscles. Stop and hold the stretch if you experience tightness or resistance.


Using Hand for Support

While trying yoga for neck pain use your hand for mild support. For instance, when tilting the head to the side, lightly place the palm on the head.


Chair or Wall Support

Use a wall or a chair with a high back for support when performing neck stretches.

This offers support and a good posture. Make sure the spine is in the correct posture, and the head and neck are supported.

Meghna Banerjee