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10 Quick Yoga Stretches For Neck Pain Relief

10 Quick Yoga Stretches For Neck Pain Relief

Long and stressful hours at the office, lengthy commutes, carpooling, and hoisting our toddlers up and down can be grueling for the mind and body. These are some of the most common stressors that cause chronic neck pain.  Management for neck pain is essential in supporting overall spinal health. Yoga is the number one preventative approach to maintaining your body’s total well being. Here are 10 simple yoga stretches to help relieve that stubborn neck pain.

1. Child’s Pose

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    • Begin in a kneeling position and inhale.
    • Exhale and drop your buttocks toward your heals as you stretch your body down and reach your arms forward.
    • Rest your arms on the earth, alongside your body with your stomach nestled between thighs and forehead on the mat.
    • Remain in child’s pose for 3-5 breaths, feeling your spine begin to lengthen and your buttocks dropping down.

    2. Cow to Cat Pose

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      • Begin in a table-top position; hands with fingers pointed forward aligning under shoulders and knees aligning under hips at hip-width distance.
      • Move into cow pose by inhaling; drop your belly toward the mat, lift the chin and chest, with eyes gazing up toward the sky.
      • Move into cat pose by exhaling; draw your belly toward the spine with a round back toward the sky.
      • Alternate between cow and cat pose 3-5 times.

       3. Seated Spinal Twist

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        • Begin seated with legs extended.
        • Cross right foot over outside of left thigh with a bent knee. The right knee is pointed toward the sky.
        • Inhale and place the left elbow to the outside of the right knee with the right hand centered to the spine on the floor behind you.
        • Exhale and twist right in a gentle movement, moving from your abdomen, keeping both sit-bones on the floor. Remain for 5 breaths.
        • Repeat on the other side. Left foot over right thigh, right elbow outside of left knee, hand centered to spine behind on the floor, twist and breathe.

         4.  Ear to Shoulder Pose

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          • Begin seated with legs crossed, looking straight ahead with arms down at your side.
          • After a deep inhale, exhale and bring your right ear down to your right shoulder without bending your head forward or backward to remain in the same line as your shoulders.
          • Inhale and raise your head back to center.
          • Exhale and repeat on the other side by drawing your left ear down to the left shoulder.
          • Repeat 3 times on both sides.

           5.  Wide Legged Forward Ben

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            • Begin in a standing position with feet wide apart.
            • Inhale and straighten your spine up before exhaling while you fold forward at the hips.
            • Gently drop your head to the earth and gaze behind you.
            • Bring your hands to the floor or wherever they can reach, with your elbows pointing behind you.
            • Remain in this pose for 3-5 breaths.

            6.  Rabbit Pose

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              • Begin in child’s pose.
              • Hold on to your heels with your hands, inhale and gently roll from your forehead to the crown of your head, lifting your hips up toward the sky.
              • Exhale and slowly lower hips to back to the heels and forehead back to starting position.
              • Repeat 3-5 times.

              7.  Extended Puppy Pose

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                • Begin in a table top position; hands with fingers pointed forward aligning under shoulders and knees aligning under hips at hip-width distance.
                • Inhale as you walk your hands out in front of you, lowering your chest down toward the ground.
                • Exhale and keep your hips over your knees and arms shoulder distance apart, while you gently release your forehead to the ground.
                • Inhale and inch your finger tips away from your body, draw your shoulder blades together, and reach your hips up toward the sky.
                • Exhale and remain in this pose for 3-5 breaths.

                8.  Fish Pose

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                  • Begin in a laying-down position with legs extended and arms resting alongside your body with palms down.
                  • Gently raise your sacral area as you bring your hands together beneath your lower spine with thumbs touching and palms flat on the floor.
                  • Inhale and press your forearms into the earth while lifting your upper back to create an arch.
                  • Exhale; lift your shoulder blades and upper torso off of the earth, gently tilting your head back so the crown of your head is to the floor.
                  • Remain in this pose for 3-5 breaths.

                  9.  Legs Up The Wall Pose

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                    • Begin in a laying-down position with legs raised above hips and pressed against the wall.
                    • Shift your weight from side to side as you inch your buttocks toward the wall.
                    • Inhale and let your arms rest open at your sides with palms facing up.
                    • Exhale and let your hip joints and lower back come into contact with the earth.
                    • Close your eyes and remain in this pose for 5-7 breaths.

                    10. Corpse Pose with Head and Neck Support

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                      • Place a bolster, folded blanket, or towel on the earth where your head will rest.
                      • Lie back on the bolster with knees bent.
                      • Place the bolster under your head and neck.
                      • Inhale and extend legs one at a time.
                      • Exhale and allow your body to relax into the earth with arms placed out to the side and palms up.
                      • Focus on inhaling and lengthening along the earth while you exhale.
                      • Continue to breathe with eyes closed for 3-10 breaths.

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                      Last Updated on May 22, 2019

                      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                      There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

                      One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

                      In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

                      Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

                      1. Cat Camel Stretch

                      Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

                      Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

                      Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

                      Here’s a video to guide you through:

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                      2. Go for a Walk or a Run

                      This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

                      Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

                      The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

                      Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

                      Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

                      3. Jumping Jacks

                      Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

                      Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

                      4. Abductor Side Lifts

                      Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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                      Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

                      5. Balancing Table Pose

                      This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

                      Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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                        6. Leg Squats

                        Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

                        Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

                        The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

                        7. Push Ups

                        You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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                        An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

                        Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

                        This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

                        8. Bicycle Crunches

                        There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

                        Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

                        9. Lunges

                        Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

                        Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

                        This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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                        10. Bicep Curls

                        You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

                        Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

                        Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

                        Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

                        Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

                        These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

                        You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

                        Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

                        More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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