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Neck Safety for Yoga

September 14, 2021

The neck is very delicate. Some yoga postures apply considerable strain to this area. It is important to remain mindful when performing the following; Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana), Plough (Halasana), Headstand (Sirsasana) and Fish (Matsyasana)

If you suffer from neck pain why not try the following alternative postures.

Swap shoulder stand (sarvangasana)  for the fountain of youth pose (viparita karani). To perform this posture, place your mat with the short end against the wall. Sit on your bottom with the right side of your body in contact with the wall, slowly turn your body as you lay down and extend your legs up the wall keeping your hips as close as possible to the wall.

Swap the plough (halasana) for jalandhara mudra otherwise known as a chin lock, it is performed seated with a breath retention so there is no weight on your shoulders or neck.  

Another alternative would be to rest in the wind relieving pose (apanasana), this posture is performed by lying on your back and bringing your knees in towards your chest.

Swap the headstand (sirsasana) for downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana). To do downward facing dog begin on all fours curl under your toes and unfold your legs and then push the floor away with our hands, creating a triangular shape with your body.

The dolphin pose is another great alternative for a headstand. To perform dolphin begin on all fours. Place the forearms onto the floor, shoulder width apart and interlink your fingers, curl under your toes and unfold your legs, look to your hands inhale as you move your body forwards and exhale as you move your body back, 

Swap fish (matsyasana) for cat (majaryasana). To perform cat (majaryasana) inhale and lift the hips, chest and head and exhale as you round the back towards the ceiling and look through your legs. Make sure that your neck remains a natural extension of the spine. You can also move the spine in the same way whilst sitting with the ankles crossed and the hands on the knees.

If you are not sure what postures to perform try a Yoga 2 Hear audio yoga class for inspiration.