If you spend long hours sitting in front of a computer or hunched over your mobile devices then you’re probably increasing the levels of stress and tension in your neck, shoulders and upper back. To realign your posture and ease neck and shoulder pain, do this 16-minute yoga flow at least once a week. Feel the movement in your spine and coordinate the breath with each movement to promote neuromuscular re-education and create change that leads to more functional movement patterns.
NECK, SHOULDER & UPPER BACK TENSION RELIEF YOGA ESSENTIAL FLOW
1. Easy pose: 60 seconds. Sit on the floor, cross your legs, lengthen the spine and focus on your breath.
2. Seated mountain pose: 30 seconds. Inhale, reach your arms up and overhead and interlace your fingers.
3. Seated spinal twist pose: 30 seconds + 30 seconds. Exhale as you place your right hand on the left knee and twist your torso to the left. Hold the pose for 30 seconds, switch sides and repeat.
4. Seated ear to shoulder stretch: 30 seconds + 30 seconds. Interlace your hands behind your back and bring them toward your right hip. As you exhale gently drop your right ear toward your right shoulder. Stay in easy pose with ear to shoulder stretch for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
5. Cow face pose: 30 seconds + 30 seconds. Cross your right leg over the left, bring your right arm up toward the ceiling, bend the elbow and rest your right palm on the upper back. Bring your left arm out to the side, bend the elbow, move your left hand behind your back toward the right hand, and reach to grasp the fingers. Hold the pose for 30 seconds, switch sides and repeat.
6. Cow face pose with eagle arms: 30 seconds + 30 seconds. Bring both arms forward, bend your elbows, raise and cross your forearms, so that the palms of your hands are facing each other. Stay in cow face pose with eagle arms for 30 seconds and then repeat with the arms and legs reversed.
7. Staff pose: 30 seconds. Extend your legs, pace both hands on the floor and stack your spine vertically.
8. Seated forward bend pose: 30 seconds. Exhale as you bend at the hips and slowly lower your torso. Lengthen the spine, grab your feet and hold for 30 seconds.
9. Child’s pose: 60 seconds. Sit on your heels, lay your torso down and stretch your arms in front of you.
10. Cat pose: 15 seconds. Get on your hands and knees and exhale as you round your spine toward the ceiling.
11. Cow pose: 15 seconds. Inhale as you curve your belly down toward the floor and feel the stretch in your chest and neck. Repeat this cat-cow flow 3 times.
12. Extended puppy pose: 60 seconds. Walk your hands forward, pull your hips back toward the heels and lengthen the spine. Rest your forehead on the mat and relax.
13. Standing forward bend pose: 30 seconds. Stand up and exhale as you bend from the hips and lengthen your torso.
14. Warrior II pose: 30 seconds. Go into mountain pose, step to the side with your left foot and rotate it out, to a 90-degree angle. Bend your left knee, rotate your head to the left, bring the arms up to shoulder height, and keep them parallel to the floor.
15. Extended triangle pose: 30 seconds. Straighten your left leg and exhale as you bring your left hand to the floor, on the inside or outside of the left foot. Reach the right arm toward the ceiling, and gaze at your right thumb. Repeat this warrior II-extended triangle flow on the opposite side.
16. Standing forward bend pose: 30 seconds. Exhale as you bend from the hips and draw your belly in.
17. Standing half forward bend pose: 30 seconds. Inhale as you lift your chin and your chest, and look forward. Press your hands into your shins and straighten the spine.
18. Bridge pose: 30 seconds. Lie on your back, bend both knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Clasp the hands below your pelvis and inhale as you lift the hips and chest up.
19. Knees to chest pose: 30 seconds. Lower the hips back to the floor and pull both knees up toward your chest.
20. Corpse pose: 2 minutes. Lie on your back and extend your arms and legs, letting them drop open. Close your eyes, allow your feet to rotate to the sides and keep your palms facing up.