In an age when most people spend a good chunk of their week hunched over a screen, neck and back issues are becoming some of the most common ailments that people deal with. We ask a lot from our shoulders, including having the strength and flexibility to reach, lift, hold, carry, press, and pull.

With all this activity, it’s unsurprising that we experience some degree of shoulder discomfort in our life. If you’re ready to be free of the pain you’re holding in your shoulder and neck, one common way to alleviate your discomfort is stretching. There are certain positions that actually focus on this area.

One way to relax your muscles is by performing stretches – this is because this physical activity is intense enough to keep you moving but gentle enough to prevent further strain. Start by choosing 3 of these moves, then progress, after you have done these, I guarantee you will feel like you have spent a day in the spa!

Forward Fold with Clasp: 

How to:

  • Stand, clasp hands behind the back, and take a big inhale to open the chest.
  • On exhale, soften knees and fold forward, letting the head fall toward the ground and gently releasing neck.
  • If you feel comfortable, bend one knee and then the other, getting more into your shoulders.
  • Stay here for 5 deep breaths.

Related article: Reduce Back Pain With These 1 Minute Stretching Exercises




How to:

  • Begin on hands and knees.
  • Hold opposite elbows to get shoulder’s distance, then place forearms parallel to one another.
  • Drop your head and reach your chest back through your arms in the direction of your feet to enhance shoulder opening.
  • Stay here for 5 deep breaths.

Related article: Yoga Poses To Relieve Back Pain

Reverse Prayer: 

reverse prayer

How to:

  • Sit comfortably, float arms down to either side of the body, and, bending elbows, reach arms behind back.
  • Press palms together in a prayer position on the spine and reach hands as high up the spine as feels good.
  • Stay here for 5 deep breaths.

Related article: 18 Exercises That Show You Exactly What Muscles You Are Stretching



How to:

  • From standing, hug left knee to chest.
  • Bend right knee and cross left leg around the right leg, hooking left foot on either side of the right leg.
  • Wrap right arm under the right arm.
  • Sit down as low as you can and lift up through your arms to stay balanced, reaching elbows and fingertips up and away from your face.
  • Stay here for 5 long, deep breaths.
  • Unwind and repeat on another side.

(If preferred, you can do the same arms pose without the legs in a seated position.)

Related article: Yoga and Stretching Exercises & Correct Form



How to:

  • Lie face-down, bend knees, and grab ankles.
  • Press feet into hands, keeping knees hip-width apart, and lift the chest off the ground.
  • Stay here for 5 deep breaths.

Related article: 7 Easy Comfortable Stretches To Relieve And Loosen Shoulder Tension And Aches

Cow Face:

cow face

How to:

  • Kneel and reach right arm to the ceiling.
  • Bend right elbow and allow the right hand to fall between shoulder blades.
  • Take the left hand to the right elbow and allow the weight of the hand to deepen the shoulder opening (no pushing!).
  • If this is easy for you, bring your left arm down, bend the elbow and reach your left hand up the center of your back, taking hold of your right hand.
  • Lean back slightly into arms, taking care that the right arm isn’t putting any pressure on the neck.
  • Stay here for 5 deep breaths.

Related article: 9 Mobility Exercises to Relieve Shoulder Pain

Thread the Needle: 

thread of needle


How to:

  • Begin on all fours.
  • Reach the right arm underneath the body, allowing the right shoulder and temple to release to the ground.
  • Allow left hand to stay where it is, or crawl it a bit to the right over to your head.
  • Stay here for 5 deep breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Related article: 5 Stretches To Get You Standing & Help Relieve Stress & Muscle Tightness


criss cross

How to:

  • Lie face-down on the stomach.
  • Lift torso and thread right arm underneath left at shoulder height, about a 90-degree angle away from the body.
  • Reach left arm in the opposite direction (again, about 90-degree angle away from torso).
  • Hook chin over shoulders.
  • Walk fingers away from one another to lengthen your arms and breathe here for 5 deep breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Related article: 5 Minutes Flexibility and Stretching Home Workout


8 point

How to:

  • Lie face-down on the stomach.
  • Reach left arm out at a 90-degree angle from the body with palm facing up.
  • Use right hand under the right shoulder to start to press away, bending right knee.
  • If comfortable, reach your left toes behind the left knee as you rotate your body.
  • Reach right arm to ceiling, flex palm, and allow the hand to fall toward the ground with gravity.
  • Stay there for as long as you like.
  • If there’s enough space, allow the right hand to meet the left in a clasp and breathe there for as long as feels good.

(Warning: This is a deep one, come out of the pose as slowly and mindfully as you came in!)