Neck and Shoulder Health

Neck pain is often addressed with stretching and relaxation exercises; however, changes in alignment and general strengthening often yield better results.  In yoga, neck pain can be caused by improper weight-bearing asanas such as chaturanga. As a secondary curve, the neck is a sibling to the lower back.  Just like the lower back, the balance of the musculature on the front and back body is one of the keys to improved function.

Example Workshop Schedule

1 Hour: Overview of neck pain in the context of daily life.  Introduction of basic musculature of the neck and related areas of the chest and upper back.  Discussion of everyday as well as evidence-based practices for neck pain.  A look at the neck from the yogic perspective and the postures generally used to address it.

2-3 Hours:  Lecture and practice concerning the neck and shoulders.  Lecture of the anatomical range of motion of the cervical spine serves as a jumping off point for safely stretching the trouble spots of the neck. Students learn and experience practices that open the chest and strengthen the front of the neck. 

2-3 Hours:  Lecture and practice dedicated to the alignment of the neck in weight-bearing asana. This segment is particularly useful for students who typically practice flow-based asana.  Neck alignment is addressed in chaturanga, upward-facing dog, shoulderstand, and camel pose.  Students learn stepping stones and strategies to practicing these postures in the context of a public class.


2-7 hours



Facilitated Discussion: Pain in the neck

Lecture and Practice:
The neck as an extension of the spine

  • Asanas that support neck function
  • Asanas that create risk to the cervical spine
  • Practical alignment for reducing neck pain
  • Gentle cervical health practices