Does Yoga Help Shoulder Pain? 7 Poses That'll Hit The Sweet Spot After A Long Day
Whether you're sitting crunched over a computer all day, on your feet serving trays on trays of heavy dinners, or heck, even if you just slept wrong, the neck and shoulder pain that can result from any of these activities is the freaking worst. And when the pain is relentless, it can absolutely ruin your whole damn day. So no matter where you are, if the pain is kickin' hard, it's a good idea to take a break for a little yoga time. And does yoga help shoulder pain, you may ask? You bet it does, friends. You bet it does.
And yeah, you also might have guessed that the whole neck tension thing is especially true if you're straight-up prone to stress. While the stress might not always be the root cause of your neck pain, it can definitely exacerbate the tension or cause underlying aches to rise to the surface.
So on top of the fact that yoga naturally includes stretches that work to specifically target those neck and shoulder sweet spots, the practice and breath work itself can do wonders for reducing stress, as well as getting that bod all nice and strong and supple. Never fear, I've got you covered for some yoga stretches and exercises that'll melt the tension away and help you unwind.
1. Eagle Pose
This one looks fancy, but it's actually quite simple. It targets both the length of your neck, as well as that often troublesome spot right between the shoulder blades.
Bend your elbows, raising your forearms perpendicular to the floor. Then wrap your arms and hands around each other, with the intention of pressing your palms together. Lift your elbows and reach your fingertips up to the ceiling. Keep your shoulder blades pressing down your back.
For an extra stretch, roll your neck toward your hands.
2. The Yoga Shrug
I find one of the best ways for me to loosen up my shoulders is to do this very simple and repetitive exercise.
Inhale and bring your shoulders to your ears, exhale and drop them. Repeat as often as feels good.
Round out it with a nice neck roll, and you're good to go!
3. Arm Across The Chest
This one is great to simply do intermittently all day long. Just reach one arm across the body, then support it with your other arm and apply slight pressure to stretch your shoulders.
4. Chest Forward, Chest Back
Sitting up tall and seated with your legs crossed and hands lightly resting at your knees, inhale, and bring your heart and chest forward. Exhale as you push back toward your spine, creating a "C" curve with your upper back. Repeat as often as feels good.
5. Camel Pose
I was definitely intimidated by this pose the first few times I did it, but as far as shoulder-opening poses go, this one honestly can't be beat. It's especially good if you're feeling tightness in the front of your shoulders.
Kneel on the floor with your knees about hip-width apart. Think about rotating your thighs inward slightly. Slowly reach each arm back toward each corresponding foot, pressing your pelvis forward, and dropping your neck back if you feel comfortable doing so.
Don't beat yourself up if you can't flow entirely into this pose. You'll get there with time.
6. Roll It Down To The Ground
This is a really great lengthening exercise for overall spine health. When I was a dancer, we used to do this during every warm-up, and I love it when yoga teachers use it as well in their classes.
Standing with your feet about hip-width apart, and making sure your core muscles are engaged, draw your belly button to your spine, and draw your ribs together with an exhale, starting from the crown of your head .
If at any point pain starts to shoot throughout your body, or it simply feels like too much, just stop and breathe, and roll back up! You'll get to the floor, I promise.
7. Cat Cow
This is another lovely pose for improving all-over spine health.
Get down on all fours, and curve your spine back into a concave "C" shape, bringing your neck and head down and forward toward the ground. Then, drop your belly toward the floor, and look up toward the ceiling. Repeat, and feel free to play with the speed with which you transition between each movement, finding what feels best for you.
Remember, you are your own best guide, so listen to your body! It'll tell you what's working and what's not.
Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.