Top 5 Yoga postures to ease stiff neck

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With most of the urban population being stuck in office jobs that demand long hours sitting in front of a computer, stiff neck and back pain is common among professionals of all ages. It can be very painful indeed and there seems to be no relief. However, there are some yoga poses that will help you relax your stiff neck and make your day a little more comfortable. You can try out these poses anywhere- at home, at the office. All you need is a little floor space to lay down the yoga mat and a few minutes reprieve.

1. Cow and cat pose

Marjaryasana Bitilasana by amyjirsa_yogini, on Flickr
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This is actually an amalgamation of two poses. You have to sit on the floor on your knees and bring both your hands in front of you. Support yourself on your palms resting on the ground. Keep your back flat like a table and then lift your buttocks dropping your belly. Exhale and go back to table pose. Now arch your back outward and tuck your head between your shoulders.

2. Dolphin pose

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Sit on your knees and put your hands in front to support your body. Now, keeping your body weight mostly on your forearms and palms, lift your hips towards the ceiling. Stretch as far as you comfortably can and rest your head softly on the ground. You may keep your knees bent if it makes you feel good.

3. Supported fish pose

Elongated by Nicholas_T, on Flickr
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Sit on the yoga mat and place a block directly behind you where your shoulder blades would lie if you lie down. Place another block behind that to use as a pillow. Adjust the block size according to your need. Now gently lower your body on the blocks. You can move the blocks around a little until you are completely comfortable. Lay your arms on either side. In this position, stay for five to ten deep breaths.

4. Eagle Pose

Sierra Garudasana by solidariat, on Flickr
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This pose stretches the shoulder and scapula, thereby relieving your stiff neck. Stand on two feet and then shift all the body weight to your right leg. Lift your left leg and cross it over the right near the knee. If you are having problems with the balance, first try resting your left toes on the ground after crossing. Now cross your right arm over left and intertwine them until the hands touch. Now bend your hips as though you are about to sit and stretch your intertwined hands upwards. Keeping your balance, breathe deeply.

5. 8 point shoulder opener

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Lie on the ground on your stomach and extend your right arm perpendicular to the body with the palm facing up. Use your left shoulder to push away and bend your left knee to extend your left toes towards the right knee. This will give rise to a rolling motion; if it feels comfortable, go along with the motion. If you want, you can extend your left arm up to the ceiling and then let it lower gently back to the ground again. If you are even more flexible, clasp your left and right hand together behind your back for as long as it feels comfortable.

Apart from this, some healthy habits should be adopted. If you have to work at the computer for long, take two minutes’ break every half an hour of sitting at the computer to talk a walk around the office or stretch. Also, make sure you sit straight in the chair and not in a drooping posture. If you work on a laptop, keep it as close to your eye level as possible. The chair you sit in all day should also have good lower back and pelvic support.

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