21. Ear to Shoulder Pose
The ear to shoulder pose can be done anywhere and at any time, as long as you can sit or stand up straight. It stretches the neck and shoulder muscles. You can use the weight of your hands to assist the stretch, but do not try to force your ear to your shoulder.
- Begin in either a sitting or standing position, with the spine straight and head facing forward. Rest your arms at your side.
- Take a deep breath. As you exhale, let your head fall slowly to the right. Make sure your head does not fall forward or backwards.
- Bring your head back to center as you inhale. Repeat on the left side with your exhale.
- Repeat this cycle 7-10 times on each side.
22. Legs Against the Wall Pose
Viparita Karani and the next (corpse pose) are designed to be relaxing and performed at the end of a yoga routine. They can be done anytime you need to decompress. Make sure the wall is clear of anything you could bump or break.
- Lay on the floor on your left side -- preferably on a yoga mat or other pad. Bring your knees close to your chest.
- Take a deep breath. As you exhale, roll to your right and swing your legs straight up against the wall. Over time, you will be able to find the most comfortable distance from the wall.
- Stretch your head and neck out of your shoulders, allowing your back and shoulders to relax into the floor.
- Extend your arms out to your sides, palms up. Relax in this pose for 5-10 minutes, breathing naturally.
- To move out of this pose, bend your knees towards your chest and roll back onto your side.
23. Corpse Pose
Also known as Savasana, corpse pose is usually the last pose of any yoga routine. It is arguably the most relaxing yoga pose, and may results in the practitioner taking a bit of a nap for a time.
- Lay flat on your back on the floor.
- Extend your legs straight out. If this is uncomfortable, draw your knees up so your feet are flat on the floor. Let your knees lean in against each other.
- Lay your arms at your sides, palms up.
- Adjust your back, shoulders and shoulder blades, head, legs and arms as necessary. Make sure you are comfortable.
- Close your eyes and allow yourself to breathe naturally. Relax your face and jaw.
- Lay in this position for 5-15 minutes. Set an alarm if needed.
Yoga for Neck Pain
Not all of these positions are easy, but over time you will notice your body growing stronger and more flexible. The connection between your mind and body should noticeably improve. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate differences in your neck and shoulder pain. Like any physical endeavor, slow and steady progress is best. Namaste!