Quick Yoga for Neck + Shoulder Tension

Quick Yoga for Neck + Shoulder Tension

I originally posted this yoga sequence as a live stream in a Facebook group I belong to. The group is filled with women entrepreneurs and CEOs who are building, growing, or maintaining huge businesses. They loved this sequence, because it was easy and fast and they could do it in the middle of their day without having to leave the office or home to visit a gym or studio. And it is simple enough to do even if you have never done yoga before.

How do we get tension in neck and shoulders?

We build tension in our necks and shoulders as we sit at our desks or at counters and tables in coffee shops for hours at a time. We lean forward, causing our shoulders to round forward, the neck rounds as well, against it’s normal backwards curve. Our upper back over-rounds as the shoulders come forward. All of this is out of alignment with our natural posture, which causes tension to build as we hold this position for long periods. But we can take measures to ease that tension and prevent it from becoming a serious issue. Creating the habit of moving often throughout the day will help.

And this short yoga sequence can get you started.

Do this:

seated meditation

Sitting upright in your chair, feet planted firmly on the ground, rest your hands on your lap, palms up or down. Close your eyes or soften your gaze. Allow you focus to settle on your breath. Just notice it, without judgment. Notice how the body responds to the breath. The body expands as you breathe in. The body softens as you breathe out. Allow this expansion and softening. Stay here as long as you like, several minutes if you can.

When it feels right (keeping the eyes closed or opening them if you like), inhale and gently draw the shoulders up towards the ears. As you exhale, allow them to release back down. Do this several times, inhaling and easily lift the shoulders, exhale and melt them down. Try to do this with the least amount of effort, don't force or push. 1-2 minutes.

ear to shoulder variation

When you feel like that is done, inhale in a neutral seated posture. Then, as you exhale, allow one ear to drift down towards the shoulder. Keep the shoulder relaxed. Imagine you are stacking ear on top of ear. If you like, you can allow the opposite hand to reach down and to the side. Stay here for a few breaths, relaxing and softening as you breathe. And when it feels right, inhale as you come back up to center. Exhale and repeat to the other side. 1-2 minutes

That's it!

You may have noticed that all of this took about five minutes. That’s all it takes to feel better in your body. I suggest you shoot for 2-3 five minute yoga breaks each day. Do more if you can, keeping the movement easy and soft. You can’t release tension if you are forcing anything.

Force creates tension.

Did this sequence work for you?

I’d love to hear about it, or answer any questions you may have. So drop them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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