Yoga has some great neck stretching and strengthening exercises. Headstands, which are popular in yoga, are also a good way to develop a stronger neck. However, if you currently have neck pain, I’d avoid head stands until your neck pain is gone.
1. Tree pose
This balance exercise teaches you to keep your head up in good alignment. If your head is forward, or you are otherwise in poor posture, you’ll soon lose your balance. Stand on one leg with your other foot pressed against the inside of your supporting leg. Place your hands together in front of your chest. Float your head up to create good posture.
You’ll have seen this exercise already if you have read my article Back Pain Relief. However, as well as being good for your lower back, it’s also a great neck exercise. Kneel on all fours, with your shoulders over your hands and your hips over your knees. Lift up through the middle of your back and lower your head toward the floor. Next, push your belly down toward the floor and lift your head, looking up toward the ceiling. Continue alternating between these two positions.
3. Ear to shoulder Pose
This is a lovely, gentle pose that stretches your neck using gravity. It’s very hard to overstretch your neck with this exercise so it’s great if your neck is really sore or painful. Clasp your hands behind your back and pull them over toward your left hip. Lean your head over to the left and lower your head down toward your shoulder. You can do this seated or standing. Hold this position for a moment or two, allowing gravity to ease you into a deeper stretch. Swap sides and repeat.
4. Corpse Pose
If you need to take stress off your neck after a hard day sat at your computer, this is the yoga pose for you. Lie on your back on the floor and allow your arms, legs, and head to feel heavy. Close your eyes and imagine you are sinking into the floor. Feel the floor press against the back of your body. Stay in this position for as long as it takes for all that tension to leak out of you.
5. Easy seated twist
This exercise wrings tension out of your spine from the bottom to the top. Twists are important for spine health, and yet it’s something so few of us do on a regular basis. It’s often only when you try and turn your head to look behind you that you realize that you can’t twist very easily.
Sit in a chair or on the floor with your legs crossed. Place your right hand on your left knee, and your left hand on the floor behind you. Twist your upper body to the left, turning your head in the same direction. Keep your shoulders down and both butt cheeks on the floor. Keep your spine long and your head up. Lean your head slightly over to your shoulder to increase the stretch in your neck. Slowly unwind, change sides, and repeat.
More Natural Ideas for Neck Pain Relief
More exercises and tips to help you reduce and prevent neck pain. Check it here.