Yoga for neck pain – How Yoga Helps To Relieve Pain

Many people suffer from some form of neck pain and there are many factors that contribute to the aches and pains experienced in the neck region.

Unfortunately it does not even take much to develop pain, and it is made worse by the fact that it can quickly spread to other areas of your upper body as well.

Yoga for neck pain – Understanding The Causes

There are many different factors that contribute to neck pain, and is a very common ailment that many suffer from.  Your neck has the very important task for holding up your head, which is a heavy weight to carry.

Some of the more usual suspects that cause neck pain include:


In the more serious instances, there are cases that are prevalent as a result of some form of disease. Some of the diseases that are known to be associated with neck pain specifically include cancer, meningitis and rheumatoid arthritis to name a few.


If you have been in a car accident where your head was violently jerked, you are almost certain to suffer from a form of what is known as whiplash. This happens when the head is jerked backward and forward, putting strain on the soft tissue muscles located in the neck, which comprises tendons, muscles, and ligaments.

Muscle Strains.

There are so many occurrences where you can strain muscles. From sitting too long stationary and working in front of a laptop or desktop computer, to grinding your teeth in your sleep. All of these components act as triggers that end up in neck pains.

Nerve compressions.

Another, more serious cause, nerve compressions occur when bone spurs or herniated disks in your neck vertebrae put pressure on the nerves that are present in your spine.

Worn joints.

This is more commonly linked to aging. It is completely natural for wear and tear to occur as we age. Osteoarthritis is caused by the cartilage between the disks in your neck eroding away, and then creating what are known as bone spurs.

Preventative Measures

With a number of adjustments in your daily routine, as well as the regular practice of certain yoga asanas, aimed at combating neck ailments, you will be able to reap the benefits:

Avoid cradling the phone between your shoulder and your ear. When you are talking on your smartphone or you find yourself working in a call centre, try and be more mindful of the fact of not cradling the phone, your ear and your shoulder.

Doing so restricts the freedom of movement of your neck, head and shoulders which might cause neck and muscle tension, and also be harmful to your overall job performance.

Improved posture. When you are in either a sitting or standing position, ensure that your spine is straight, your hips aligned with your shoulders, and your ears are directly below your shoulders.

Have a break. Take regular comfort breaks, when you are sitting down or travelling extensively. Take a walk around outside with fresh air when you are at the office, stop for breaks when you are travelling in the car, and if you are flying, stand up regularly to stretch, or even just walking in the passage way outside of serving times.

Rearrange office desk. Adjust the angle of your screen monitor to a height that is eye level. Your knees should be slightly lower than your hips, with your feet together. You can also make use of posture pillows for office chairs to provide additional comfort and support.

Smoking is unhealthy. Try quitting the cancer sticks. Smoking only adds to the risk of neck pains developing.

Avoid heavy bags. If your bags are heavy, don’t put the straps over your shoulders and carry them for long distances.

Ideal sleeping position. Use a pillow that offers neck support in addition to aligning your head with your body. If you can, put a pillow underneath your thighs. This will elevate your spine, and level the spinal muscles.

Yoga Poses That Helps Relieve Neck Pain

Here is a list of yoga asanas that you can try that helps relieve common neck ailments.

Warrior II Pose – Virabhadrasana 

  1. Standing in mountain pose, exhale and step your feet 4 feet apart.
  2. Raise your arms perpendicular to the floor.
  3. Reach straight to the ceiling via the pinky fingers. 
  4. Firm your shoulder blades against your back, and draw them down to the tailbone.
  5. Turn your left foot 45 degrees to the right and your right foot 90 degrees to the right.
  6. Align the right heel and left heel with each other.
  7. Exhale and turn your upper body to the right.
  8. With your left hip pointing forward, press the left thigh bone back to the heel.
  9. Lengthen your tailbone towards the floor and arch your spine slightly
  10. With the left heel on the floor, exhale and bend the right knee over the right ankle, so the shin is at a 90 degree angle to the floor.
  11. Reaching through your arms, lift your ribcage away from your pelvis.
  12. As you come down to the ground through the back foot, you should feel a stretch through the ribcage and up your arms.
  13. If you are able to bring your palms together, do so and reach further through the pinky fingers.
  14. Keep your head in a neutral position, gazing forward.

Extended Triangle Pose – Utthita Trikonasana 

  1. Standing on your yoga mat or sticky mat, exhale and place the left foot slightly in.
  2. Inhale and stretch the arms out to the same height as your shoulders.
  3. With the next exhale, draw out from the hips and reach your right hand out towards your big toe on the right, and reach to the sky with your left hand.
  4. Open up the chest and gaze to your left hand.
  5. On the next exhale, turn to the other side, where your left foot is slightly in front of your right foot.
  6. Repeat the steps.

Cat Cow Pose – Marjaryasana

  1. Start by getting on your hands and knees on top of your yoga mat.
  2. Your wrists should be directly underneath your shoulders and your knees directly underneath your hips.
  3. Your fingertips should point to the top of your yoga mat.
  4. The shins and knees should be hip-width apart from each other.
  5. Keep your head in a neutral place and soften your gaze downward.
  6. Inhale and drop your stomach towards the floor. 
  7. Lift your chest and chin, and gaze up towards the ceiling.
  8. Open up your shoulder blades, and pull the shoulders away from the ears.
  9. By exhaling, draw your stomach towards your spine and round your back towards the ceiling.
  10. Drop the crown of your head to the floor.
  11. Repeat the inhale and exhale to draw your stomach in and out a few times.

Thread The Needle Pose – Parsva Balasana

  1. Start by getting on your hands and knees on top of your yoga mat.
  2. Your wrists should be directly underneath your shoulders and your knees directly underneath your hips.
  3. Your fingertips should point to the top of your yoga mat.
  4. The shins and knees should be hip-width apart from each other.
  5. Keep your head in a neutral place and soften your gaze downward. Also called a table pose.
  6. On one of the exhalations, slide your right arm underneath the left arm, palm facing upwards.
  7. Your right shoulder should be slid down onto the mat, with the right ear and cheek resting on the mat and your gaze to the left.
  8. Your left elbow should keep lifting and your hips should be raised upwards. If needed, adjust your position so as to not place strain on the neck and head.
  9. Allow your upper back to open up, while you are relaxing the lower back. 
  10. Next, allow all tension to fade away.
  11. Hold for a period of at least 1 minute, then release and repeat.

Cow Face Pose – Gomukhasana

  1. Bring yourself to a kneeling position.
  2. Cross the right leg over to just above the left knee.
  3. Place the top of your right foot, next to the left ankle.
  4. Now, exhale and sit back on your heels, while keeping your thighs and feet together.
  5. Gaze at your knees while you place your right hand over your right knee, and place your left hand on top of your right hand.
  6. Bring your chin towards your chest plate.
  7. Inhale and sit up straight, lengthening the spine.
  8. Release the tension in your jaw, palate, and tongue. 
  9. Breath in deeply and slowly, while you open up your collarbones and drop your tailbone at the same time.
  10. Keep this pose for at least 10 breaths.
  11. Inhale and lift your head, slowly extending your lower neck.
  12. Rotate your left shoulder forward and reach the hand up your spine with the palm facing toward your back.
  13. Inhale and reach with your right arm down your back and grab the left hand that is extended.
  14. Roll the top of the left shoulder backwards, point your right elbow to the ceiling and your left elbow toward the floor.
  15. Gently pull your arms in opposite directions.
  16. Drop the sitting bones to the floor and squeeze the legs to create a floating sense of motion to the body.
  17. Focus on the breathing and hold the pose for 5 breaths.
  18. Release on an inhale and repeat on the other side.

Half Lord of the Fishes Pose – Ardha Matsyendrasana

  1. Remain seated as with the gomukhasana pose, your right knee on top.
  2. Root down with your sitting bones to lengthen the spine.
  3. With each inhalation, focus on the length of the spine, extending all the way to the tailbone on the floor.
  4. Keeping the left leg in place, place the right foot to the outside of the left knee.
  5. Push down with the right big town whilst descending with the right outer hip.
  6. Inhale, and take the left arm towards the ceiling.
  7. Exhale and hook the left elbow towards the right hand side of the knee, taking the right hand to the floor, towards the outside of the right hip.
  8. When the right knee starts to buckle, press it to the right to produce more resistance, for the left elbow.
  9. Inhale and attempt to fall deeper into the stretch.
  10. Gaze to the right by looking over the right shoulder.
  11. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths, release and repeat on the other side.

Yoga for neck pain – Conclusion

Yoga can help relieve neck pain by keeping your neck flexible and releasing tension in the neck and shoulders. A bonus feature is that it will keep you relaxed as well.Namaste!

Quote of the day:

“Yoga is not a work-out, it is a work-in. And this is the point of spiritual practice to make us teachable to open up our hearts and focus on our awareness, so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are”

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