A long day of sitting or a rough night of sleep can lead to neck pain. When things feel a little tense, tight, or off-kilter, these yoga poses can help alleviate that discomfort.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend C
- Stand with your feet three to four feet apart, turning heels out slightly wider than toes.
- Bring your arms behind your back, clasping your fingers and pressing the heels of your palms together in a fist.
- Fold forward, hinging at your hips, drawing the crown of your head and your hands toward the floor. Relax your toes, and try to shift the weight of your hips forward so they're in line with your feet.
- Stay here for five deep breaths. Then press into your feet, engage your quads, and inhale as you stand up.
- Kneel on your mat with your knees hips-width distance apart, and your big toes touching behind you.
- Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, lie your torso over your thighs. Try to lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders.
- Rest your arms beside your legs, palms facing up, or try extending your arms out in front of you. Stay here for five breaths.
Keep reading for one more pose to help with a stiff neck.
Cow to Cat Stretch
- Begin with your hands and knees on the floor. Make sure your knees are under your hips and your wrists are under your shoulders. Begin in a neutral spine position, with your back flat and your abs engaged.
- On your inhale, arch your back, let your belly relax, and go loose. Lift your head and tailbone up toward the sky — without putting any unnecessary pressure on your neck. This is the "cow" portion of the pose.
- On the exhale, round your spine up toward the ceiling, and imagine you're pulling your belly button up toward your spine, really engaging your abs. Tuck your chin in toward your chest, and let your neck release. This is your cat-like shape.
- Continue flowing back and forth from Cat Pose to Cow Pose, and connect your breath to each movement — inhale for Cow Pose, and exhale on Cat Pose.
- Repeat for at least 10 rounds, or until your spine is warmed up.