Level 1: Beginner
- Eases tension in the neck and shoulders
- Can help with headaches
- Can gently improve range of motion in the neck over time
- Aids relaxation
- Connects movement to breath
Contraindications/Cautions (consult your physician):
- Injuries/inflammation of the cervical spine, discs, vertebrae, including atlantoaxial joint
- If you find sitting on the floor uncomfortable, you can do these on a chair or standing up in Samasthiti
- Head trauma or previous cervical surgery- consult your doctor.
Start in a comfortable neutral position, usually seated in Sukhasana or Vajrasana. Ground down through the lower body, and find length through the spine, drawing up and extending out through the crown of the head. Work through the following sequence:
- Chin to chest. From neutral forward-facing, inhale through the nose, exhale and release the chin to the chest, keeping the rest of the body still. Feel the stretch through the back of the neck, don’t force it. Inhale and return to centre. Repeat 3-5 times, and for the last time stay a bit longer if it is comfortable. Breathe here, inhaling, and trying to soften on each exhale. Then inhale and return to centre.
- Shoulder rolls. Keeping the neck neutral, inhale and roll the shoulders up towards the ears. Exhale and push them down the back body away from the ears. Repeat 3-5 times and then reverse the direction by drawing them up towards the ears starting from the back body as you inhale, and pushing them down the front body as you exhale. Repeat 3-5 times and then inhale back to neutral.
- Neck rolls. Inhale, and then keeping the shoulders down away from the ears, release the chin to the chest as you exhale and start to move it clockwise in a circular motion. Inhale as you draw the top half of the circle, and then exhale as you draw the bottom half. You can start small and get bigger, or move in a way which is comfortable for your neck. Do 3-5 and then gently change direction of the circles. Return to neutral once finished.
- Look towards shoulder. Inhale in neutral keeping the shoulders down away from the ears, and as you exhale gently turn the head to look over the left shoulder. Don’t force it, you should feel the stretch down the right hand side of the neck. Inhale back to centre, and exhale turning the head to look over the right shoulder. Inhale back to centre, and repeat 3-5 times on each side.
- Ear to shoulder. Inhale in neutral, and as you exhale allow the left ear to lower down towards the left shoulder in a lateral motion. You should feel a nice stretch down the right side of the neck. Inhale back to centre, and exhale allowing the right ear to lower towards the right shoulder. Try and keep the shoulders relaxed and in a neutral position, moving only the neck. Repeat 3-5 times per side. Inhale back to neutral, and exhaling energetically release the postures!
- If you would like to try this sequence by following a video, check out the new VetYogi YouTube channel, where there is a 5 minute sequence for easing neck tension!