Yoga for Neck and Shoulders
The neck and shoulders are the most famous places within our bodies to display signs of stress in the form of tension. The tension most likely is coming from stress and that stress is displayed or deposited in this region of the body. Being such, taking advantage of yoga stretches for this area in the body can be very helpful for relieving tension.
I want to be clear that these yoga poses do not alleviate the causes of tension, they simply alleviate the symptoms. Eventually, these symptoms will arise anew if the causation is not addressed. The good news is that yoga also addresses the cause yet that is addressed through meditation not poses. Yet, you can bring this meditation into the poses and therefore in one act called “asana” you can release the symptoms and address and eventually eradicate the cause. Asana means to bring the qualities of meditation into action.
How yoga for tension in the neck and shoulders works is by using poses that address this region to dissolve the tension through gentle and patient stretching. Addressing the region and spending some time there will allow the tension to dissolve through a gentle stretch. It works! Just remember if the thoughts and reactions that created this tension in the first place arise again, the tension in this region will arise again!
You could say that yoga poses for the shoulders and neck is a superficial fix which it is; but it is a necessary fix to relieve symptoms. It’s necessary because it relieves discomfort, but it’s superficial because it does not prevent the discomfort from returning. For that, we need to address the thoughts and reactions that are at its source. The first step in this is “awareness.” Awareness is meditation’s objective. It’s through awareness one becomes aware when the mind slips into stress-producing thoughts and reactions and it is this awareness that gives us a choice to continue indulging in these stress-producing mentalities or to stop indulging.
There are so many yoga postures I won’t give you a list here because in my list I may miss ones that you may most appreciate. All you have to do is google: “yoga exercises for stiff shoulders and neck” and start experimenting by adding these postures into your yoga practice. Obviously keeping the poses you find effective and discarding the ones you find ineffective.
One more item here I’d like to mention, which is the type of yoga you practice. There are some forms of yoga practice created to produce a deep relaxing state of being. Yes all yoga practices will create a relaxing effect; yet, there are some that emphasize relaxation more than others. These yoga practices are called “yin” and “restorative” yoga practices. Yin and restorative yoga for shoulders or neck routines are prolific due to this region’s fame in carrying tension. My guess is most yin and restorative yoga practices will contain stretches for this region. If you find a routine that doesn’t include this region, just move on to the next as you will certainly find many.
Ultimately when googling these poses and understanding what constitutes a yin or restorative class, you could create your own yin or restorative flow using these poses.
I hope this was helpful!