ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Yoga Poses for Shoulders: Relieve Tension and Stiff Neck

Updated on April 27, 2019
Dhanurasana or Bow Pose, is an advanced pose for strengthening the shoulders and the spine.
Dhanurasana or Bow Pose, is an advanced pose for strengthening the shoulders and the spine. | Source

We take many things for granted in life especially our body when it is functioning well. Modern life with all the technology and comforts hardly give us a chance to use all the parts of the body. That is why exercises and yoga asana or postures become essential.

If there is one place where we hold tension, it is usually the neck and shoulders. Most of us find that our necks bear the brunt of the stress and tension in our lives. We find ourself becoming tense during a difficult meeting, while waiting for an important phone call, after a trying day. We notice if your neck aches and your shoulders are hunched up and tight.

Doing some of the yoga poses or asanas for the neck and shoulders will cure the stiffness and tension while improving flexibility in the upper back, shoulders and arms. Our body is so interconnected that most of the yoga poses use the arms, shoulders and the movements of the spine which contribute to the health of the shoulders.

The Shoulder Joint.
The Shoulder Joint. | Source

Do you suffer from stiff neck and tense shoulders on weekdays?

See results

What are the Shoulders?

In the human body the upper joint of the human arm and the part of the body between this and the neck. The shoulder is made up of three bones and associated muscles, ligaments and tendons:

  • clavicle – collarbone
  • scapula – shoulder blade
  • humerus – upper arm bone

The shoulder is the group of structures in the region in what is known as the shoulder joint. The major joint of the shoulder is the glenohumeral joint, the 'shoulder joint' comprised of the part where the upper arm bone and the shoulder blade.

The shoulder is responsible for a wide range of actions of the arms and hands. It has to be stable enough to allow us to lift, push and pull. The compromise between being mobile as well as stable results in a large number of shoulder problems unlike those faced by other joints like the hip joint. The shoulder joint is one of the most mobile joints in the human body, this range of motion makes it extremely unstable and far more prone to dislocation and injury.

The first proof of a person being stressed is when the neck and shoulders feel stiff and the muscles feel painful to touch. Taking care of the shoulder joint and the associated muscles will help relieve stress.

Shoulder Circles or Rotation Warm Up

Warm Up for the Shoulder

It is good practice to do some warm up exercises or yoga poses before doing the strengthening and toning poses. The following three movements can be done whenever you feel you are hunched up and tight. They will help relax the shoulder muscles while improving flexibility. These are seated warm up yoga poses:

  • Sit in a comfortable position on a chair or cross-legged on the floor.
  • See that the ears are aligned above the shoulders.

Shoulder Shrugs:

  1. Bring both shoulders up toward the ears as high as you can. Exaggerate the shrug and accentuate the holding.
  2. Release, letting shoulders drop back and down.
  3. Repeat 7 times

Shoulder Circles

  1. Raise your arms straight and sideways in level with your shoulders.
  2. Bend both elbows and lightly place your fingertips on top of the shoulders. If the muscles are tight you may not be able to do it. Do it as far as you can.
  3. Rotate you elbows as though you were drawing small circles on the walls.

Shoulder and Torso Twist

  1. Raise your arms straight and sideways in level with your shoulders.
  2. Bend both elbows and lightly place your fingertips on top of the shoulders.
  3. Inhale and exhale while, slowly and with control, turn your upper torso and head to the right. Hold for a few seconds.
  4. Inhale and return to center. Exhale and slowly turn to the left, hold for a few seconds.
  5. Inhale and return to center.
  6. Repeat 8-10 times on each side.
  7. Without straining or forcing, engage the abdominal muscles slightly and try to turn a bit further each time.

You can include some more warm up poses such as for the neck and upper back as well.

Yoga Mudra - Standing

Yoga Mudra - Sitting

Archer's Pose

Bow Pose

Eagle yoga pose or Garudasana is beneficial for the shoulders, upper arms and legs.
Eagle yoga pose or Garudasana is beneficial for the shoulders, upper arms and legs. | Source

Easy Yoga Poses for the Shoulders

There are many simple poses one can do to stretch and strengthen the shoulders. Incorporating some of the following poses into your yoga asana practice would be beneficial. The following poses are only a few suggestions:

Staff Pose – Dandasana

This is a basic sitting pose for all forward bends. Danda means 'staff' in Sanskrit, and regular practice of this pose improves posture, strengthens the back muscles and stretches the shoulders and chest.

Yoga Mudra (Standing and Sitting Variations)

This can be done both when standing or seated. Mudra means 'seal' in Sanskrit. Yoga Mudra is a symbolic gesture of yoga in which the head surrenders to the heart. With your head held lower than your heart, you can let go and trust that it is the heart – rather than the mind – that truly understands. This pose loosens the shoulders, arms and spinal column, and improves posture and back problems. It also gives a great stretch to the backs of the thighs and brings a fresh supply of blood to the face and head.

Archer's Pose – Dhanurdhara Asana

This standing pose strengthens the nerves and the leg muscles, opens the shoulder joints and chest, and increases concentration and focus. Repeat the pose on both sides.

Bow Pose – Dhanurasana

This prone yoga pose massages the abdominal organs and improves digestion, stimulates the thyroid, and opens the chest. It strengthens the back and arms and tones the thighs and buttocks. This is a more advanced pose must be done after being comfortable doing the Cobra Pose, Half and Full Locust Poses.

Eagle Pose -- Garudasana

This is a standing balance yoga pose which helps loosen stiff shoulders while at the same time strengthening the legs and back muscles. The seated Eagle pose can be done any time of the day, in the office or home, especially when you have been sitting at the desk for a long time.

Remember to relax in Corpse Pose or Savasana in between the poses as well as at the end of the session.

For the above and other more advanced poses for the shoulders and creating your own sequence check out the Yoga Journal - Shoulders. All the poses have multiple benefits because the various parts of the body are interconnected.

Many of the yoga poses for the hips and spine are also good for the shoulders. See the following articles:


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Sushma Webber profile imageAUTHOR

      Sushma Webber 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks curious dreamer

    • curious dreamer profile image

      Mahesh Mohan 

      6 years ago from India

      nice hub............

    • Sushma Webber profile imageAUTHOR

      Sushma Webber 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks Kris for your feedback. Yes I too need to remind myself to do the stretches, especially when I am busy writing articles.

    • Kris Heeter profile image

      Kris Heeter 

      6 years ago from Indiana

      A very nicely written hub! These are are wonderful poses for the shoulders and as I sit here typing it's a good reminder to take a break and do some simple relaxation stretches:)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)