A couple years ago, I led a workshop I called A Pose for Your Woes. It was a simple workshop meant to help students better understand how yoga poses can help relieve tension in tight areas of the body. We worked from the ground up, starting with the feet and I introduced common, and not-so-common, stretches to help heal and prevent chronic pain.

Since then, I’ve told myself over and over again that I should create a video series with some of these stretches to help people move through pain. I finally sat down and started this week.

My intention for the A Pose For Your Woes Video Series is to offer short videos under 10 minutes with helpful stretches that can alleviate and prevent chronic pain in areas of the body where we most often experience tension. Stretches and movement can help us identify and hopefully reverse habitual movement patterns in our daily life to build better posture and healthier lifestyles.

Shoulders & Neck

Its funny how the universe seems to converge upon topics at certain times. This past week all of my students, both private clients and students in group classes, have been asking for shoulder and neck stretches to relieve tension in their upper back and neck.

This area of the body is becoming a huge problem area for many people because of our general day-to-day posture (staring down at computer screens, driving for hours, or sitting at a desk). The muscles of the neck and back are contracted when we are constantly glued to our mobile devices as well.

Any bad posture prolonged over time can and most likely will lead to some type of chronic pain and often the only real way to relieve that pain completely is to change your lifestyle. It may be as simple as becoming more aware of your posture, or as complex as changing your diet and your job. Either way, understanding your range of motion in areas where you are experiencing tightness, where the pain originates and how it travels, and the types of movements or postures that exacerbate it are all data points that can help you more quickly pinpoint the movement patterns that will give you relief.

The stretches I offer in today’s video target rotation and lateralization of the spine, flexion and abduction of the shoulders, and protraction, retraction, and depression of the scapula. Awareness of scapular depression alone in all posture will go a long way in helping to release tension in the neck and shoulders.

I hope you enjoy these simple stretches and they provide you with a general feeling of wellbeing.

Let me know how these stretches work for you in the comments under the video!