Yoga for Neck Pain and Headaches, Part 2: Stretching the Shoulders

Welcome to Part 2 of our Yoga For Neck Pain series. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

Many western therapists believe that to achieve an effective release of the muscles around the neck, with the goal of relieving neck and head pain, one must first focus on releasing the muscles around the shoulders. This is supported by many eastern therapeutic techniques, which maintain that energy moves from the feet up, so one must remove blockages in the lower body in order for energy, blood and lymph to flow with less resistance to the areas that need it.

The Muscles of the Shoulder Joint

To release the shoulders, let’s begin with the names of the muscles we will be working with. The major muscle groups of the shoulders include: pectoralis major and minor, the biceps, triceps, latissimus dorsi, trapezius, deltoid, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, teres major, subscapularis and serratus anterior.

Yoga Pose Videos That Stretch Those Muscles

To find the videos that show how to stretch the muscles listed above, go to 'Yoga Poses', then under ‘Upper Body’ choose the muscle you would like to stretch (‘Pectoralis’, for example), and all videos that stretch the pectoralis muscle will come up. One doesn’t necessarily need to know the names and locations of all of the muscles, since how your body is feeling and responding to treatment is your best indicator of success, but it does help to understand your particular issue and the best approach to healing.

Yoga Class Videos that Stretch the Shoulders

There are also a number of classes on our site, from beginner to intermediate, that focus on the shoulders. The absolute best thing you can do is to take a longer class that goes through a thorough stretching of the upper body muscles, at least three times per week - as long as you can do it pain-free. When you don’t have the time, supplement with a shorter class. I’ve listed our classes, with their difficulty level and duration, below.

Gentle Yoga for the Neck
9 min 39 sec

Office Yoga for the Neck and Shoulders
12 min 53 sec

A Stretch Class for Beginners I
23 min 54 sec

The Ultimate Shoulder Sequence
62 min 20 sec

Sun Salutes with Binding Twists: Deep Stretching for the Shoulders
63 min 29 sec

When Doing the Yoga Videos
When moving through the poses within these classes, be very aware of how your body is feeling. Do not push into pain, but rather move into a stretch until you feel it and before you feel any pain or discomfort. And most important of all, breathe deeply.

Your body will thank you for it!


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