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August 11, 2010


Women's Yoga Clothing

Thank you for the post. I am usually pain free in the neck and shoulders, but every once in a while my muscles tighten up, and I am miserable. It usually takes a couple of weeks before I feel completely pain free and back to normal. I need to stick with yoga more consistently to avoid these spells. Thanks for the information.


Thanks so much for the book recommendation. I'm currently nursing a sore shoulder as a result of a boating accident (trying to get in to the boat...). The book just arrived from Amazon and it looks like just what the doctor ordered.


oh my you are a lifesaver. I've been suffering from neck and shoulder pains for 1 week now. I'm so going to try the things you said in your blog. Thank you very much!

Jasmine Kaloudis

I've had chronic pain in neck and headaches for years. I stay away from headstand and don't teach it either for the reasons you mentioned.

Doing a vigorous practice helps, alongside a few restorative poses. Take your yoga mat, roll it up tight. Lay on the ground. Place your matt under your spine, starting at your low back but also letting you head rest comfortable on it as well. Stay here anywhere from 5-15 minutes....great way to wind down.

Another one, roll your mat halfway, put your mat underneath the natural curve of your neck as you lay on the ground. Stay for 5-15 minutes.

Both these poses are great for managing neck pain and headaches.

I'm going to buy the book you mentioned.

Dasi @ The Yoga of Living

Diane, I'm glad I discovered your site. Your posts are very well-researched and informative.

In regard to Carol Krucoff's 8 strategies for lasting neck and shoulder pain relief, I appreciated her comprehensive approach to healing.

It seems like the operative word is 'regular' in 1) Regular Yoga Practice, which is often a challenge in our fast-paced, over-committed lives.

So, your suggestions for poses that can be practiced as a 'yoga break' were great, especially Chakravakasana. Delightful. :)


This post has helped me trememdously. Thank you, thank you!

Health blog

Of course, there is no better cure than yoga.


Awesome. it really works like nothing else. I'm throwing away all my pills. Thank you!

David Scott Lynn

Interesting. ... The page you linked to RE: Chin Lock Breathwork has a banner ad for Planet Yoga, showing a woman doing headstand. Yet she is THE PERFECT example of POOR -- or even dangerous -- headstand technique. Look closely, and her weight is on her forehead, not the very top of her head. If a person cannot balance on the very top of their head, they should NOT be doing headstand until they have properly balanced their structure. Otherwise, weight of body is being held by small neck muscles, rather than through the bone structure. ... It's so weird that Planet Yoga would use such poor alignment in their ad!!!

Also, most people -- teachers, therapists & physicians included -- believe that forward head & neck posture comes from "tight" chest muscles or the neck itself. This is more often NOT the case. ...

What most people seem to not know is that MOST forward head & neck posture is from flattening (loss of lumbar curve) of the lumbar spine, which levers the neck and head forward. In turn, flattening of the lumbar spine is caused primarily by lumbar FLEXORS -- the abdominal wall & psoas -- and hip EXTENSORS -- hamstrings, gluteals, lateral hip rotators, adductor magnus.

Until the proper lumbar length (of muscles) & curve (of spine) is restored, attempting to push the head back into place by "opening the chest" and "bringing the neck and head back into alignment" are counterproductive, at best. Dangerous in the long term.

Most of the cases I see who've tried to bring their head and neck back into alignment have been contracting their upper back muscles, attempting to lift the chest and draw the neck and head rearward, where they THINK correct alignment is. This is VERY unnatural and increases the stresses and compression over the long hall. But it can take several YEARS for the negative results -- and pain or disc degeneration -- to show up.

Further, MOST people who APPEAR to have excess curve in the lower (lumbar) back, do NOT have too much curve in the lumbar spine -- the actual vertebrae -- itself. Therefore, MOST attempts to flatten the lumbar curve to get rid of allegedly excess curve in the lower back is actually compressing the lumbar discs, leading eventually to pain and possibly disc degeneration. Huge amounts of contraction of the wrong muscles (such as "strengthening" the allegedly "weak" AB and back muscles) puts much compression and imbalance in the so-called "core" muscles.

Let's Face It: Some people are designed by nature to have a (sometimes very) deep curve in their lower back, no matter what the yoga, ballet, tai chi or Pilates teachers say.

People ho've been suing the wrong approach often LOOK like they have great posture, but close examination shows they have very tight muscles and much compression of many joints, especially the lumbar spine.


Yes! I can do head stand also, but I don't, because I feel I am too heavy to be doing it. I just know I am asking for trouble if I do.

I used to have constant neck and shoulder pain (and fibromyalgia) and I can recommend learning self trigger point massage to ELIMINATE it. Just thought I'd mention it. :)


Great info! I've had neck pain for some time, so I'm definitely going to try this.

Rachel @ Suburban Yogini

Fantastic. Very helpful for both me and my students. Thank you!

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