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Yoga for shoulders & neck

With these simple exercises you can release tension in the upper shoulder and neck area and strengthen the muscles.

Photo: Create width. Lengthening the upper back and shoulder blades helps to relieve acute tension in the shoulder and neck area | Claudiyengar 2021.

The classics

Many yoga practitioners know the asanas Gomukhasana, pictured below left, and Pashimanamaskarasana, pictured below right. These foster flexibility and suppleness of the shoulders, elbows and wrists. These asanas can be practised well while standing or sitting, even on a chair in between while working from home. A yoga belt helps in Gomukhasana when it is difficult to grip the fingers.

Photos: Left: Gomukhasana arms. Right: Pashimanamaskarasana.

Start with the wrists

Everything is connected to everything else, especially in our bodies. Stiffness or immobility in the shoulders starts in the wrists. In everyday life, we often have the wrists in the same posture and do not use their full range of motion. These exercises gently stretch the wrists - the further back you sit, the more intense the stretch. As a next step, you can also go into the dog position to work with more body weight.

Photos: Extend the range of motion of the wrists - turn hands outwards, towards each other and backwards.

Work with resistance

The fact that the palms correspond with the shoulders is especially noticeable in these exercises. Here the aim is to open and widen the palms against a resistance (wall, cupboard, door). This allows the arms and elbow joints to be stretched better and the shoulder blades to be pulled down strongly at the back. This creates relief in the neck and upper shoulder area.

Photos: Turn hand upwards and backwards, stretch arm, pull shoulder blades down strongly at the back. Attention: A stable base and a firm stand with the legs supports the work in the upper body.

Shoulder work in other Asanas

We can practice in many asanas, such as standing postures, with the focus on the shoulder and neck.

In Trikonasana, the triangle pose, it helps to turn the palm out backwards and press it onto the seat of the chair. This allows us to easily pull the shoulder back and away from the ear and make that side of the neck long.


More about strengthening the spine and back in my new

Claudia Lamas Cornejo is a self-employed PR manager and freelance journalist as well as an Iyengar Yoga practitioner and teacher.

Her project "Iyengar Yoga Blog" aims to shed light on topics related to the study and practice of yoga, to give practice advice and to let different voices of the Iyengar Yoga community have their say:


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