Top 4 Yoga Poses For Back And Shoulder Stiffness
Here are the 4 yoga poses to ease the stiffness in upper back, as well as shoulders. These easy stretches, if done regularly, can relieve, if not do away with, the pain and the tension.Sitting for hours, typing away on your laptop, stresses your shoulders and neck out. Your back, shoulder muscles, and neck feel stretched and stiff. Even if you go for physiotherapy sessions to sort this problem out, you will realise that sitting for long hours isn’t the problem (well, partially).
It’s the posture! What, however, helps to better the pain is yoga.
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Here are the top 4 yoga poses to ease the stiffness in the upper back, as well as shoulders. These easy stretches, if done regularly, can relieve, if not do away with, the pain and the tension.
- Arm across the chest – Sit up straight, elongating your spine – on the floor or on a chair. Relax your neck and shoulder area. Extend your right arm at shoulder level towards the left side of your body. Turn your neck towards the right side. You’ll feel the pull and stretch. Hold this for about 8 counts, and then switch to the other side.
- Eagle pose – The eagle pose, or Garudasana, is also beneficial for people suffering from sciatica. You should do this one standing up, but sitting works as well for the neck and shoulders. Bring your elbows in line with your shoulders, and sit down deeper into your legs.
If you’re doing this asana standing up, then you need to wrap your left knee over your right thigh, and lock your left instep near your right calf. Seen a pretzel? Just like that. Extend 1 arm straight out, while laterally rotating the upper arms at the shoulder joint. Now cross your right arm over the left, while bending at the elbows with your fingertips pointing upward. Try to touch your palms to each other to form a Namaste-like pose. Take a few deep breaths, and relax the shoulders. Now repeat the same on the other side. Remember to change the leg position, and put the right leg over the left thigh. Hold each side for at least 10 counts, and repeat 2-3 times.
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3. Fish pose – The fish pose, or Matsyasana, is excellent to relieve the tension in the neck area. People with cervical problems should do this exercise regularly. Lie down flat on your back and slide your hands, palms facing down, under your torso. Touch your thumbs together. Extend your legs onto the floor, feet together.
The traditional variation of the pose is performed with legs crossed, in Padmasana or the lotus pose. Since this is a little difficult to do, it's normally practised by more experienced people. You should start with your legs stretched out, and work your way into this position over a period of time. Inhale as you press down through your elbows, lift your heart to the sky, and roll the crown of the head onto the floor. Keep the weight on your elbows and forearms, and not on your head. When you release this pose, gently slide your neck, head, and elbows back, to lie down straight. You’ll feel wonderful after this as it really helps get rid of the knots in the neck and the shoulders. Hold the pose for about 15 counts, and repeat twice.
4. Cat/Cow pose – Cakravakasana is another great exercise to relieve stress. You start off on your knees and hands. Inhale and open your chest, flattening your upper back, while drawing your shoulder blades towards each other. While exhaling, gently contract your belly and round your back. Now, without collapsing your chest over your belly, bring your hips back and towards your heels as you bend your elbows and lower your chest towards your thighs, and your forehead towards the floor. Do this 6-8 times, and feel the tension drain out.
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All these exercises should be done regularly, especially if you have a desk job. They really help ease muscle stiffness. If you don’t take care of this now, it could lead to terrible pain in your upper back and shoulder area. A few minutes of exercise every few hours and a proper sitting posture is all you need to avoid running to a physiotherapist for endless expensive sessions.