A 2-Minute Stretch To Release The Nasty Neck & Shoulder Tension You're Storing

mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant By Sarah Regan
mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant

Sarah Regan is a writer, registered yoga instructor, and Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

A 2-Minute Stretch To Release The Nasty Neck & Shoulder Tension You're Storing

Between general poor posture and the dreaded "tech neck" many of us experience neck and shoulder pain, eye strain, and tension headaches—especially at the end of a workday. Thankfully, if your posture could use some work, or you simply want to alleviate some of that tension, neck stretches are always at your disposal. Here's how to do a basic neck-release stretch, demonstrated by certified personal trainer Danielle Gray.

Neck release stretch:

  1. Start in a standing position, with your feet together. (Think mountain pose: Weight should be evenly distributed on all four corners of your feet, tailbone slightly tucked, and shoulder blades down and back.)
  2. Press your right shoulder and the heel of your palm down away from you, while flexing your fingers up as high as you can. 
  3. Look in the opposite direction as your hand, at an upward diagonal. Hold for a minute.
  4. Next, slowly bring your chin down toward your collarbone, looking toward the ground. Hold for another minute, then release back to center.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side.
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Tips to remember:

Gray notes, when doing this pose, it's important to keep your palm flexed; otherwise, you may end up straining your neck.

It should feel like your head and hand are pulling in opposite directions, allowing for the stretch and creating space in the neck and shoulder region. The harder you push with your hand, she adds, the more intense the stretch will feel.

What are the benefits?

This quick and easy stretch is excellent for releasing neck tension that results from poor posture, looking at your phone or computer, and even sleeping on your neck a bit funny.

As Gray notes, it can help improve your posture, minimize upper-back and shoulder pain, and if you suffer from tension headaches, it may help with that, too. Eye strain can also result from neck tension, so you can give this stretch a try if your eyes have been feeling out of it.

The bottom line is, we carry tons of tension in our shoulder and neck region, and it can cause a myriad of aches and pains. But with this effective stretch, all you need is two minutes to pause, stretch it out, and hopefully mitigate some of that tension.

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