5. Bridge Pose
Bridge pose might seem counterintuitive for neck pain. However, it allows you to stretch through the back of your neck while increasing strength.
- Start by laying on your back, hands at your side. Draw your knees up until your feet are flat on the ground, around 6 inches from your tailbone.
- Inhale as you lift your hips off the floor as high as comfortably possible. Place your hands underneath your sacrum for support. If you are unable to reach, consider using a yoga block instead. For a more advanced pose, clasp your hands together on the floor under your back.
- Hold the bridge for 2-3 minutes, or as long as is comfortable. Lower yourself slowly back to the floor when complete.
6. Rabbit Pose
Rabbit pose is a wonderful position to open up your thoracic (upper back) and cervical spine. This pose will stimulate your digestive system and force oxygenated blood to your brain.
- Begin in a kneeling position. Bend your upper body down, rounding your back, as you grasp your heels with your hands.
- Inhale and lift your hips toward the ceiling, bringing your forehead to your knees (or as close as possible.
- Resting the crown of your head on the floor, pull most of your weight through your arms. This will remove stress from your neck and head.
- Hold for 4-8 breaths. Come out of the pose slowly without putting extra weight on your head.
7. Supported Fish Pose
Also known as Matsyasana, fish pose is a great strengthening exercise that stretches out your chest and abdomen.
- Begin laying flat on your back with your arms at your side, palms facing down.
- Slide your hands underneath your torso until your thumbs are touching. Stretch your body through your legs and feet.
- As you inhale, press down on your elbows, lifting your chest skyward. Roll the top of your head onto the floor.
- Be sure to avoid putting too much weight on the crown of your head. Keep the bulk of your weight through your elbows and forearms.
- Keeping your face and jaw muscles relaxed, hold for 15-30 seconds.
- To come out of this position, exhale as you bring your had back into a neutral position (face up) and lower your torso back to the floor.
- Matsyasana can be modified for comfort if needed.
8. Bharadvaja’s Twist
Considered a healing movement for the spine and abdominal organs, Bharadvaja’s Twist is one of the most popular poses for neck and back pain.
- Begin by sitting in the middle of your mat with your legs straight out in front of you.
- Shift your weight onto your right buttocks as you bend both of your knees and swing your legs to the left. Your feet should land on the outside of your left hip, with your left ankle resting on the arch of your right foot.
- Inhale deeply, lifting your chest and lengthening your torso. As you exhale, twist your body to the right without lifting your left buttock too far off the floor.
- Tuck your left hand under your right knee as you lay your right hand on the floor next to your right buttock.
- As you inhale again, move your left shoulder back so that your shoulder blades are still pressed against your back. As exhale twist your chest to the right.
- Repeat the last step, remembering to keep your chest high with each inhale and twisting a little more to the right with each exhale.
- Hold for 30-60 seconds, then slowly return to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite side.