yoga teacherBy Faye Martins

How often do your yoga classes emphasize releasing tension from upper stress joints? Every hatha yoga instructor training course contains vital information for proper care of the neck and shoulders. Yet, do we give our yoga students all of the tools and information needed to maintain their upper body joints?

General Information for Your Students

In today’s world there are many elements that can cause stress, especially with the state of the economy and other changes that can affect personal lives in many ways. There is a reason that people use the saying, “weight of the world on my shoulders.” Due to the fact that when we carry that “weight” it definitely affects the neck and shoulders, this area of the body needs special care.

Not only that, the neck and shoulders get a lot of use each day, injuries to these areas are among the most commonly suffered ailments. When you have a stiff neck or sore shoulders it can inhibit you from performing at your best each day. A regular scheduled hatha yoga practice can cure any stress on the neck and shoulders and also help melt away that daily stress.

When it comes to physical yoga practice there are many asanas that can be practiced at a scheduled time, but there are also many modified moves that you can do as you’re getting ready for work, at your desk, or right before bed that will help as well. Even with a busy schedule you should still try to practice at least an hour, and at least three times a week. The following are just some of the recommended asanas and modified poses to relieve neck and shoulder pain.

Modified Asanas and Warm ups

• Ear-to-Shoulder – Gently drop the ear to the shoulder at each side.

• Chin-to-Chest – Pull the chin into the chest and inhale deeply.

• Shoulder Circles – Raise the shoulders up, back and down while breathing deeply.

• Neck Roll – Inhale as you slowly roll the head forward from left to right, exhale back from right to left. Do not tilt your head back, while practicing neck rolls.

• Side Stretch – With feet hip width apart, stretch both arms to the ceiling and take turns pulling one arm gently to the side at a time.

• Open Chest – Lace your fingers behind you as you sit forward on the chair, palms facing in. Gently lift arms and place them on the top of the chair, gently press the chest forward.

• Chair Twist – Sit forward in a chair and bring both thighs to the right side. Place the left hand on the right knee and the right hand on the back/left side of the chair and stretch. Repeat on the opposite side.

Asanas for Neck and Shoulders 

• Dolphin Pose

• Eagle Arms

• Forward Fold – gently turn head side to side and use gentle nodding movements during

• Downward Dog

• Cat and Cow 

Teacher Tips

Teach yoga students to maintain their bodies at home. If you know your students don’t practice outside of your studio, it might be best to produce a handout that gives them tips for practicing yoga at home. One example is: 15-minute yoga training sessions. Sometimes, our students need a gentle nudge in the right direction to live the best possible life.

© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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