exercises for pain in neck and shoulder

8 Easy Exercises For Pain In Neck and Shoulders

 In a little black dress, tight is right. But in your shoulder and neck, no way! Stiff neck and shoulder muscles can really be the worst, sometimes leaving us to wonder what kind of activity we can do that will actually help and not just make us more sore.

This flow has got you covered! These exercises have been designed to give those stiff muscles the TLC they need, while also strengthening them so they can give you the support. If you want neck and shoulders that look and feel good, join me! 

We’ll move through some exercises that both stretch and strengthen the muscles so you can be feeling nice and loose but also nice and strong at the end of your practice. 

Exercises For Pain In Neck and Shoulders Infographic

exercises for pain in neck and shoulders infographic

Shoulder Shrugs

Let’s start in a seated position and begin by just warming up the neck and shoulders.
Simple Shoulder Shrugs are a great way to start sending a little heat to this area, getting the blood flowing and helping us loosen up.

Take a few shrugs and then open the sides of the neck by bringing one ear to the shoulder and then the other ear to the shoulder. Take a few of these movements. Let’s take a few more shoulder shrugs, this time adding a rolling movement.

shoulder Shrugs

Cat - Cow Pose - Marjaryasana - Bitilasana

Now that we’re a little warmed up, let’s come to Table Top and move through some Cat and Cow Poses to open up the chest and upper back. Inhale, look up for cow. Exhale, for cat.

Move through a few rounds of these at the pace of your own breath. Really use the breath to expand the muscles.

cat - cow pose marjaryasana - bitilasana

Child’s Pose - Balasana

After a few rounds of cat and cow, press into the palms and sink the hips back into child’s pose. Keep the arms extended and the fingers pressing into the earth.

Allow yourself to feel the active stretch this pose offers.

child's pose balasana hillary

Balancing Table Pose - Dandayamana Bharmanasana

nhale back into Table Top and check in with your alignment. Let’s work on some stabilizing and toning exercises. On an inhale extend the right hand forward and the left heel back, exhale and crunch the elbow toward the knee under the body. Inhale, extend the arm and leg. Exhale, crunch.

We’ll do three more of these. Keep the navel tucked in and really press into the supporting arm and leg.Let’s reverse. Extend the left arm forward and the right heel back. Exhale the elbow to the knee. Inhale, extend. Move through four more.

Balancing Table Pose - Dandayamana Bharmanasana

Downward Facing Dog Pose - Adho Mukha Svanasana​​​​

Come back to Table Top. Sink the hips to the heels. Inhale. Exhale, raise the hips straight up to the sky for Downward Facing Dog.

Walk through your dog. Pedal the legs and shake the head. Allow tension to release.

Keep the arms and legs engaged, pushing away from the earth so that you are still expanding those neck and shoulder muscles, pay attention not to collapse into them.

Take five deep breaths in downward dog. Bend the knees, look forward, walk the feet toward the hands and come to a seated position. 

Downward facing dog pose - adho mukha svanasana

Reverse Prayer Pose - Paschim Namaskarasana

Now that the body is really warmed up, let’s finish with a few deeper stretches. For more stability, you can sit on your knees and heels for these postures.

Roll the shoulders down and back from the ears, reach the arms behind the body and grab opposite hands with elbows. Inhale and lift the chest, feel the upper back and top of the shoulders opening. To deepen the stretch you can move your hands into Reverse Prayer Position.

Breathe here for five deep breaths. Release the posture and shake it out.

Reverse Prayer Pose

Eagle Arms  - Garudasana

Now let’s cross the arms in front of the body for Eagle Arms, hooking the thumbs together or bringing the palms to touch. Lift the arms up and away from the body, open through the shoulder blades, lift the gaze, feel a small backbend in the upper back. Take a few deep breaths. Release the arms out wide and cross them back over the opposite way this time. Same thing on this side.

Really breathe into the posture to expand the muscles, release the tension. Exhale release the arms. Shake them out.

Eagle Arms - Garudasana

Corpse Pose - Shavasana

Let’s finish by coming into Corpse Pose, laying on the back bringing the arms alongside the body, palms face up. Take some time in this posture to finish your practice, to find stillness and release.

corpse pose shavasana

Featured Video:Exercises to strengthen stretch neck and shoulder muscles


Hopefully you’re now feeling much less stiff, less tense in your neck and shoulders. And hopefully you’re also feeling a bit stronger as well. If you’re still feeling quite stiff tomorrow, I encourage you to keep practicing this flow everyday for a few days to recondition and recover those tight spaces. Take what works for you from the practice and use it often to maintain flexibility and strength in your body.



Hillary is a natural-born wanderer and wonderer. A digital nomad and pilgrim of the heart, she often feels herself a poster child of the Spiritual Millennial. As a writer, health coach and yoga instructor Read More..

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