Blog Contributor: Colleen Bolland
Does this look familiar?!
If you’re like most Americans, you suffer from some form of back pain. And, if your job requires you to sit at a desk throughout the day, chances are that you’re feeling it all over. There is a lot of accessible information online for treating lower back pain, but what do you do about the burn in your neck and shoulders? Below are five simple yoga poses that you can do almost anywhere to help relieve upper back and neck pain.
- Cow Face Pose (Arms Only):
Reach your right arm up, palm facing forward, and reach your left hand down, palm facing backward. Bend both arms at the elbow, the right arm bent behind your head to find your left between your shoulder blades. If your hands cannot meet, grab onto your shirt for the stretch. Breathe deeply, lift your chest, and sit up tall (try not to tuck your chin). Stay in this position for 5-7 long breathes.
Extend both arms straight out from the shoulders, parallel with the floor. Cross your right arm over your left, and bend both, hinging the elbows. From here, you can place your hands on your shoulders if you’re already feeling a stretch. You can also extend your hands toward the ceiling, and cross the left wrist over the right to place your hands together. Hold this position for 5-7 breathes.
Come to all fours. Stack your wrists under your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Using your breath to guide your movement, inhale, and draw your shoulder blades together. Lift your chest and chin, and relax your belly. Next, exhale, and tuck your chin. Round your shoulders to spread your shoulder blades, and round your upper back. Move through 8-10 rounds of breath (each pose 4-5 times).
- Supported Fish Pose:
If you don’t have a yoga block, you can use a towel or blanket, rolled up tightly. Let the top of the block or towel rest just under the base of the skull so your head drapes over the top. Use your forearms and hands to support yourself. Relax, and take 7-10 deep breaths in this posture while letting your head hang heavily.
This routine only takes five minutes of your day yet can make a difference worth a lifetime.