Desk Yoga for Shoulders and Neck

I constantly have tension in my neck and shoulders, no matter how much yoga I do (I’ll blame this on my broad swimming shoulders). Sitting behind a computer screen all day only seems to amplify the tension and tightness.

Everything from bad posture, stress, soreness from activity and long periods of sitting can all lead to shoulder and neck pain. I’m ALWAYS stretching at my desk, so I wanted to share 10 of my favorite moves with you! Some are stretches and some are modifications of yoga postures. Desk yoga for shoulders and neck can be used anywhere – your car, watching tv and at work! They’re all seated, so your co-workers shouldn’t get too distracted! You may choose to do all of these, or just a few – totally up to you.

First things first – fix your posture! How many times do you find yourself slumping over the computer, typing away? You’re probably doing it right now…

Good Posture:

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This most likely won’t be comfortable at first, but as you work on having better posture throughout the day, your muscles will strengthen and it will be easier to sit like this for longer periods of time.

How to:

  • Plant your feet firmly on the ground, about hip distance apart.
  • Move away from the back of your chair, allowing your back to be straight, as if your back was against a wall.
  • Shoulders should be relaxed.
  • Neck slightly tucked towards the chin.
  • Ears above the shoulders.
  • Use this posture through all of the following moves!

Start by sitting in good posture, take 3 deep breaths, inhaling and filling up through your belly and chest. You can do this to help you relax throughout the day. It’s amazing what your breathe can do! And please, don’t try these if you are having serious neck and shoulder pains or if any of these cause more pain.

1. Rolling the Shoulders

  • Take a deep inhale, filling the lungs completely.
  • Exhale while rolling the shoulders forward, up to your ears and then back, allowing your shoulder blades to relax down the back. Continue for 3-5 rounds. Reverse directions.

2. Neck – Yes, No, Left, Right

Chin to Chest
Gently Dropping Head Back
Looking Over the Right Shoulder
Looking Over the Left Shoulder

  • On an exhale, gently allow your neck to tuck, moving your chin towards your chest. Only tuck your chin enough to where you feel a stretch.
  • Inhale your neck back to neutral.
  • Exhale and allow your neck to gently tilt back, gazing at the ceiling.
  • Inhale your neck back to neutral.
  • Exhaling, turn to look over the right shoulder.
  • Inhale your neck back to neutral.
  • Exhaling, turn to look over the left shoulder.
  • Inhale your neck back to neutral.
  • Continue for up to 5 rounds.

3. Seated Good Morning Stretch

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  • Inhale your arms up, reaching above your head and being energized through the fingers. Hold for 1-3 breaths.
  • Exhale, reach your right hand to your left wrist and bend to the side, getting a stretch throughout your side body and shoulder. Do this for 1-3 full breaths in and out.
  • Repeat on the left side.

4. Eagle Arms

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  • Inhale both arms to your sides.
  • Exhale your right arm under the left, hooking at the elbows. Your right palm will try to reach the left palm (as you can see, this is even a hard pose for me to achieve – it’s OK if your palms don’t get there. Grab your wrist if the palm is too hard).
  • Inhaling, lead with the elbows, raising the arms up. Hold at the top for 1-3 breathes.
  • Return to center. Leading with the elbows, move arms down towards the belly button. Hold for 1-3 breaths.
  • Switch arms and repeat the sequence. Left arm will hook under the right.

5. Reverse Prayer Hands

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  • Reach both arms behind you, bending at the elbows.
  • Work on moving the hands close together, palms touching in the middle of your spine. If your palms cannot touch, reach your arms behind you enough that you can feel the stretch in the front of the shoulders. Your flexibility will improve as you practice this!
  • Hold for 3 breaths.

6. Arms Clasped Behind your Back

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  • Clasp your arms behind your back, lifting through the chest, rolling your shoulders back.
  • Hold for 3 breaths.

7. Seated Twist

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  • Maintaining good posture, exhale and turn towards the right.
  • Use your left hand to wrap around the right thigh, allowing you to go deeper into the twist.
  • Keep your gaze over the right shoulder and take 1-3 breaths, using your exhales to go deeper into the stretch.
  • Return to center and repeat on the other side.

8. Seated Spinal Twist

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  • Inhale your arms up, bending at the elbows and allowing your hands to grab the shoulders.
  • Position your fingers so that your thumb is behind shoulder and fingers are in front.
  • Triceps should be parallel to the ground
  • Inhale as you turn towards the right and exhale as you move through to the left.
  • Continue for 5 rounds, moving with the breath.

9. Seated Cat

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  • Maintaining proper posture, allow hands to grip the knees.
  • Using your arms to stabilize yourself, exhale and hollowing out the stomach towards the spine, rounding the back and tucking the tailbone.
  • Let your shoulders relax.
  • Head and neck drops towards the chest.
  • Hold for a breath, come to center and move to cow.

10. Seated Cow

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  • Maintaining proper posture, allow hands to grip the knees.
  • Using your arms to stabilize yourself, exhale and lengthen through the back creating a small back bend.
  • Let your shoulders relax.
  • Drop your head and neck back, moving your gaze towards the ceiling.
  • Hold for a breath, come to center and move to cat. Repeat the cat and cow sequence for 3-5 rounds.

So there you have it, 10 of my favorite stretches to do while seated! Which exercises are your go-to for relieving shoulder and neck tension?

Stay tuned for part 2 of Desk Yoga. It will be all about Low Back, Hips and Legs!

Namaste,

Alana

The post Desk Yoga for Shoulders and Neck appeared first on Passion for Home – Bestlaminate Blog.

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