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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Yoga For Neck Pain

Hari Om all

I would like to share with you some simple tips to take care of your neck as preventive and as a curative measures.
One of the most common physical complaints which many of them suffer is neck pain or cervical spondylitis, the name given to long term stiffening and degeneration affecting the spinal column.
Their general complaint is muscular spasm, pain, tension headache, tingling sensation, shooting pain from neck till forearm, stiffness in neck or frozen neck and shoulder, giddiness.
The causes in general, we say may be due to age, as a degenerative process. In today's lifestyle the main cause is sedentary activities like desk job, sitting in front of pc for long hours with their head held rigidly forward the whole day e.g. IT persons or those who drive a lot.

Modern medicine offers physiotherapy and anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs as a therapy for this malady and which I believe gives instant relief. But these all are temporary medication and gives you relief instantly but not the permanent solution. What one needs to do is to change your life style and keep moving their joints in the right direction to prevent further complications.

Yogasanas has proved to be both palliative and curative in spondylitis. Asanas act by reducing the muscular tension and spasm and by correcting the posture. They also restore Pranic balance in the neck leading to regeneration of damaged tissues.
The following asanas has helped many of my students to overcome the stiffness and it would surely help you all too in curing or overcome neck pain. But one  need to be guided under proper yoga teacher so as to correct your postures and practice the right counter postures which one need to practice incase if you injure yourself while practicing some of these.

Basic neck movements (Greeva sanchalan)
  • You can practice this neck movements standing, sitting on chair or on floor.
  • Inhale and raise your chin up and throw your head back.
  • Without moving your body and gently push your shoulders back, while locking your arms back. Hold for 5 secs then exhaling release. Repeat 5 times.
  • Avoid taking the chin down towards the collar bone, which anyways you have been doing throughout the day due to your lifestyle.
  • Inhale deep and while exhaling gently turn your head to left and hold the posture while feeling the stretch in the neck, you can maintain this for 5 secs. Practice normal breathing, then slowly while exhaling turn your head towards right without moving your body. Repeat these movements for 5times.
  • You can practice these neck movements every 1 to 2 hours depending on your severity. If you are taking Yoga as Therapy then you have to practice more number of times throughout the day till you are cured or healed.
  • It would be more helpful during your work hours as your lifestyle has led to this problem.

Shoulder movements (Skanda sanchalan)
·         Can be practiced standing, sitting on chair or sitting on the floor.
·         Raise both the arms slowly and lock your arms and hold for 10 secs and then gradually start bending the arms while holding, whereas the right arm elbow facing upward, remains behind the head and left arm elbow facing downward and pulling the right arm. Hold for 30 secs and then straighten your arms and repeat the same with other side.
·         You can repeat this posture anytime

Simple cobra pose(Sahaj Hasta Bhujangasana)
  • Lie down in prone position with your arms folded in front of your chest and forehead resting on your arms for a while.
  • Release your arms and place your chin on the palm with your elbows resting on the floor in line with your chin.
  • There will be mild arch in your neck as well as in your back.
  • Hold this position for 1 to 2 mins and repeat this 3 times.
  • You can practice this sitting on the chair during your works hours by placing you elbows on the table and resting your chin on the palm.
  • Practice this posture every 2 hours for 2 weeks and as pain or the swelling reduces you can reduce the frequency of repetitions.

Raised Lotus/swing pose(Lolasana)
  • Sit on the floor with legs folded in Padmasana or Ardhpadmasana posture.
  • Place your palm beside your body with finger pointing forward and gently with exhalation raise your lower body up or the whole body up, look upward and shoulders back  if you are in Ardh padmasana.
  • The whole body weight will come on your hands esp wrist and neck muscles gets strengthened with regular practice.
  • If you are not able to raise the whole body up then raise only your lower body up as this will also help you to slowly strengthen your neck as you are using your own body weight against your neck.
  • Hold this only for 5 secs.
  • Repeat this posture for 3 times and repeat 4 times a day.
Mountain pose in lotus (Padmasana parvatsana)
  • Sit in Padmasana and keep your back straight and palm placed on your knees.
  • Gently raise both your arms up sideways and lock your fingers with palm facing upward.
  • Stretch your body upward ,arms touching your ears and stomach tucked in.
  • Hold this pose for 10 secs and repeat  5 times.
Unsupported cobra pose (Niralamba Bhujangasana)
  • Lie down in prone position and rest your forehead on the floor and with your arms beside your legs.
  • Lock your arms at the back side of your body and keep it stretched outward and straight.
  • Gently while inhaling raise your forehead, chin, chest up while keeping your arms locked and stretched backward and outward.
  • Hold for 3 secs and exhale and release the pose.Do not hold your breath.
  • repeat this posture for 10 times and then relax your head down.
  • Practice twice a day.
Please adopt these postures slowly and with less of repetitions at one time and can repeat the practice more number of times in day. But remember never repeat any asana more than told or as required for you at one sitting as it might adversely affect you. I have seen many of them practicing more than being told as it was helping them and finally lead to some other problem.

I have noticed my students getting better day after day if they take hot shower or hot fomentation before the start of yoga. But avoid hot fomentation more than 3 times a day in the affected area.
There are many other postures which would be beneficial to overcome pain and can be added later on. But you must practice these simple postures religiously every day, if used as a Therapy.
 I am sure you would benefit and can overcome pain related to your neck and all queries can be posted in comments column and will try to help you out.

When the cure has taken place in you, Yoga transcends the purely therapeutic approach to disease and you can see it as a valuable aid to healthy living and spiritual evolution.

Hari Om Tat Sat


  1. Gayatri NarasimhanJanuary 21, 2012 at 7:55 AM

    That was a good advice prema. I think i can do Greeva sanchalan and Skanda sanchalan when i am at school also.and i should include Niralamba Bhujangasana in my daily yoga practice.
    Thanks prema

  2. yes gayatri, you can follow these simple postures and benefit a lot will help you to prevent from further degeneration.

  3. A very well-written post. I read and liked the post and have also bookmarked you. All the best for future endeavors
    IT Company India

    1. Thks so much sir and any future guidance regarding yoga as a therapy is needed please do post it.

  4. Great info but your background image makes it very difficult to read.

  5. This web site contains information about all diseases and mudras:

  6. Yes that's so much true that yoga removes your body strains....I have been doing it for quite a long time and did find yoga helpful in many ways.Thanks for sharing.

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