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Working on a computer all day, sitting at a desk for long hours can cause a stiff neck and shoulders just as can sleeping in awkward positions at night. Stress and anxiety can also cause a stiff neck and shoulders. Here are some yoga poses for stiff neck and shoulders to help ease the stiffness and pain.

Thread the Needle Pose

Thread the needle pose is great for the shoulders and upper back. It’s also a gentle twisting pose.

Start on your hands and knees and tabletop position, make sure your shoulders are over your wrists and hips over your knees.

Inhale and lift your right arm to the sky open in the chest and exhale pull your belly to the spine and draw your arm underneath you resting on the side of your right shoulder and releasing your head to the floor.

You can stay as you are or lift your left hand to the sky opening the left side of the chest.

If you want to go deeper rotate your left palm to face backwards then bend at the elbow and rest the back of your left hand on your sacrum.

For an extra stretch for the left side of the body, you can extend your left arm back up and reach it forward over your head towards the top of the mat.

To come out of the pose bring your left palm back to the floor engage your belly while pressing into the left hand to bring you up and out. Sit back briefly in Childs pose to neutralise the spine and then repeat on the other side.

Hare Pose

This pose will help release the tension in the upper back and neck. If you have neck injuries please avoid.

Come into a sitting position on your heels (Thunderbolt Pose) and bring the hands to the heels with thumbs around the outside. 

Inhale and arch the back lifting the chest up looking up. Exhale and bring the head down towards the floor.

On an inhalation lift the hips rolling onto the very centre of the top of the head.

To come out of the pose bring the seat to the heels and roll up one vertebra at a time finishing with a little backbend again returning to thunderbolt to pose.

Cow Face Pose

The above video will show you how to perform the Cow Face Pose, which is very effective at stretching the shoulders. It also stretches the hips. It’s a good pose to do if you spend a lot of time sitting. Use a towel or strap if you can’t join your hands together.

Start by sitting upright with your feet stretched out in front of you.

Slowly bend both knees, bring your left heel close to your right hip and stack you’re right knee over left may your foot should be against the outside left it and your feet pointing out the sites with your feet flexed to protect your knees.

With this pose, you’re working to eventually have both knees stop directly above one another.

Reach both hands out and bring your right arm up and placed the hand on the back of your lower neck while bringing your left hand down and behind you to place your hands on the middle back. Try to grasp the hands together, if you can’t don’t worry this will come with time. Use a towel or strap to aid you.

Repeat this on the other side.

Bridge Pose

Lie on your back arms beside you and knees bent.

Place the feet hip-width apart press strongly into both feet.

As you inhale lift up the hips and raise the buttocks off the floor

With the arms extended towards the feet bring the palms of the hands together behind the back interlocking fingers.

As you extend the knuckles towards the heels lift the hips higher rolling onto the top of the shoulders. Tuck the chin in towards the chest keeping the back of the neck long.

Press up through the front of the thighs, take a few breaths and then slowly lower to the floor.

Practising yoga has many benefits, it can slim you down, tone you up and ease pain & stiffness!

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Yoga poses to help ease stiff neck and shoulders.
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