Neck Exercises

Our neck is designed to move in a variety of ways. Holding it in one position for a long period of time can overwork and weaken our neck muscles.

For example, sitting for hours at a computer with our head in a fixed position often results in neck tension and stiffness. These exercises provide the movement the neck needs to stay healthy, strong, and balanced.

You can do Neck Exercises standing or sitting. Breathe normally throughout all these neck exercises.

Caution: If you have neck problems, consult your doctor before practicing these exercises, to confirm whether you can practice these poses or not.

Main Benefits

  • Helps release tension in the shoulders, neck, and jaw
  • Helps increase circulation to the neck, scalp, and face.
  • Helps prevent and relieve tension headaches

Technique #1: Left to Right

  1. Begin by lifting your chest and straightening your back, looking straight ahead. Relax your shoulders and arms.
  2. Keeping your chin level, gently turn your head to the left as far as comfortable. Feel the stretch in the right side of your neck. Hold briefly.
  3. Now turn your head to the right and hold briefly. Feel the stretch in the left side of your neck. Repeat these left to right movements 5 to 10 times, breathing naturally.
  4. Bring your head back to center.

Technique #2: Ear to Shoulder

  1. Gently tilt your head to the left, bringing your left ear toward your shoulder. Hold briefly, feeling the left side of your neck contract as the right side stretches.
  2. Now slowly raise your head and lower it to the right. Hold briefly, feeling the left side of your neck stretching while the right side contracts. Continue tilting your head to the left and right 5 to 10 times, breathing naturally.
  3. Bring your head back to center.

Technique #3: Up and Down

  1. Slowly lower your chin toward your chest and hold briefly. Feel the stretch in the back of your neck and down into the area between your shoulder blades.
  2. Now lift your head, lengthening and arching your upper spine as you gently stretch your neck back. Hold briefly, feeling the stretch in the front of your neck. Continue slowly and gently moving your head up and down 5 to 10 times, breathing normally.
  3. Bring your head back to center and relax.

Technique #4: Neck Rolls

After practicing the first 3 techniques, you can safely practice technique #4. You can also do Hummingbird to warm up your neck and shoulder muscles before doing Neck Rolls.

Before practicing, please read the cautions and tips given above.

  1. Bend your neck forward, bringing your chin close to your collar bone. Then, with a very slow continuous, and smooth movement, carefully roll your head to the right, lift your chest as you roll your head to the back, to the left, then forward again.
  2. Repeat 2 to 4 times, then go the other way. Don’t just let your head hang when doing Neck Rolls do your best to maintain control over your neck muscles.
  3. Then change direction.
  4. To come out of the pose, bring your head to center, then straighten your neck.

Easier Options

Choose one or more of the following:

  1. Just do small movements.
  2. Do fewer repetitions.

Hints

  1. Be careful to move your head only within a comfortable range of motion—especially if your neck is stiff.  Move slowly and carefully and with awareness of the different feelings these movements bring to your neck.
  2. Whether sitting or standing, be sure to keep your chest lifted and your back straight throughout the exercise.
  3. Keep your shoulders as still as you can while moving your neck. This will allow you to stretch your neck muscles to their maximum. If your neck muscles are stiff, however, don't be too demanding. You can move your shoulders a little to compensate for the tightness in your neck.
  4. People with stiffer necks can start with smaller circles or ovals. With regular practice you’ll be able to make them bigger, smoother, and rounder.  

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