According to MayoClinic, neck pain is a really common complaint for many people. So the question is–can we really use yoga for neck pain? I believe neck pain is so common due to the increase in technology–looking down to use our phones more often and sitting more than normal. Neck pain is often caused by poor posture, excessive use, or leaning forward or to one side regularly. Luckily, neck pain is rarely related to something more concerning and studies show that you can use yoga for neck pain.
As a yoga therapist, and someone who not only specializes in pain management and posture correction, but someone had to do this work for myself, I am sharing 3 big tips for how you can reduce aches or pain in your neck with yoga. These are the main focal points that I use for my private clients, and I can honestly say, they get AMAZING results when they start to implement them!
Why aren’t we taught to have good posture?
The problem is that most people have no idea they don’t have good posture, OR they have no idea that their posture is so important and the root cause of their pain. I was there too.
BTW, If you’re looking for a challenge as a way to ramp up your posture, check out my Free 5-day Posture Challenge!
The truth is bad posture, especially in the neck, can cause so many issues because it forces certain muscles to overwork and other muscles to not pull their load. This causes an imbalance, and often times, a dysfunction in how the muscles are being used because they aren’t able to expand and contract like they are supposed to.
It doesn’t sound like a big deal but over an extended period of time, can cause A LOT of pain in the neck. It can also lead to other long-term issues if not corrected. If you’re ready to tackle your neck pain & bad posture head on, I highly recommend checking out my monthly membership program, Aligned, where there 10+ yoga therapy classes & trainings JUST on the neck that you can listen to whenever, wherever!
Yoga for Neck Pain: Increasing Your Awareness
When it comes to neck pain that is caused by poor posture, overuse or incorrect use, we can use our yoga practice to become more aware of our alignment. After all, the basis for yoga is awareness of you body and mind!
The only way to change your posture is by adjusting it bit by bit over time. The idea here is that the more you focus on one area and continue to adjust it, it will become muscle memory and a habit that lasts. It’s great to start this during our yoga practice because it is a time for slowing down, breathing and paying attention. This way, the more you do it in your yoga practice, the easier it becomes outside of yoga.
If you’re new to this idea, definitely watch my free Neck & Shoulder Mini Class and Training that I created for you.
Yoga for Neck Pain: Stretching
When you are constantly sitting, standing or moving with poor posture, this becomes muscle memory for your body. Depending on how long your posture has been a certain way usually corresponds with how long it takes to reverse it. Our bodies are intelligent and have the innate capability to heal given the proper tools. If you want something interesting to read on our bodies capacity to heal, check this out.
Let’s dive a little deeper into discussing forward head carriage. This creates tightness in the muscles on the front of the chest, the neck up to the jaw and the back of the neck around the shoulders–a recipe for disaster!
In order to reverse the forward head carriage, you want to focus on specific yoga stretches to help to open the front of the chest and down the arms to the hands, the front of the neck up to the jaw and the back of the neck and around the shoulders. Start by finding some stretches that help to open these areas while also focusing on maintaining proper posture as you go.
Do You Want Yoga for Neck Pain?
If you can’t find stretches that really help to get into all of these areas, I would suggest checking out my monthly membership program called Aligned Monthly Membership.
Aligned is an affordable monthly membership program to help you live a pain free life. I’ve collected over 100 prerecorded yoga therapy classes, practices and training’s for you to practice whenever, wherever. Plus, all members get access to my weekly live classes and so much more!
Yoga for Neck Pain: Strengthening
Most people think that stretching is the only part of yoga and the main thing that will improve your posture. While stretching and releasing tension in the body is key, so is learning to strengthen and stabilize these areas so that proper alignment can be achieved.
In the example of having a forward head carriage, it’s also vital to build strength in the muscles on the back of the neck, the upper back and shoulder region. When you build functional stability here through Yoga Therapy, you make it possible for the shoulders and head to come back into proper alignment.
It’s a balance of creating space through releasing tension and stretching and building stability through strengthening.
This balance begins by understanding your unique alignment and posture. Once you have a baseline of where you’re at and you know where your goal is, you can start to take small steps in getting there.
There’s No One-Time-Fix for Bad Posture, It’s About Creating Long Term Habits that Last
While most people prefer to find a quick fix-it pill when it comes to getting out of pain in their body, they typically provide temporary relief. Meanwhile, yoga therapy, when done properly and with a skilled yoga therapist, can offer long-term, sustainable results in improving your posture, decreasing pain and helping you to better understand your body all together. A win-win if you ask me!
The best way to set yourself up for success is by understanding what proper alignment is, understanding where you’re at currently and what you need to do to get back into alignment! Start by watching this Free Training & Class on Neck & Shoulders!
If this post resonated with you and you are looking for more practices that are focused on helping you understand and improve your posture, getting out of pain and holistic health as a way of healing the body, consider joining Aligned, my monthly membership space. For only $24/month, you get unlimited classes, practices and training’s to access whenever, wherever.
Caitlin Parsons, owner of Caitlin Parsons Yoga Therapy and Founder of Aligned, the #1 monthly yoga therapy membership program. Caitlin specializes in pain management and injury recovery through posture correction. She also helps women reduce stress and anxiety by learning how to tap into their bodies innate wisdom.Read More