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20-minute yoga: neck and shoulders
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20-minute yoga for neck and shoulder pain

Has working from home led to neck and shoulder pain? Yoga can help you!

Sigh, I’m working from home again. It’s almost Lunar New Year, the year of the Buffalo, is just around the corner and WHAM! Here is the sodding Coronavirus back in Vietnam. Fingers crossed for no travel bans during the biggest festival in the Vietnamese calendar, and fingers crossed again to not repeat last year’s 6-month school closures. All we can do is take a deep breath, practice yoga and learn to be at peace with whatever is happening around us.

What this might look like:

  • An increase in computer time, lots of Zoom meetings and emails
  • Closures in schools and fitness places, yoga studios in Hanoi were the last thing to reopen after Lockdown in April 2020
  • Less movement in our day: walking around our homes instead of walking around our schools; home yoga practice instead of group classes; and less motivation to get up and move

To combat an increase in computer time and working from home, this week focuses on the neck and shoulders. Most of our homes were not strictly speaking designed to be worked in. They were designed to be comfy while we lounge or watch TV or sleep, most of us don’t have a proper place to sit and work.

What does this mean for us?

  • Bad posture when we are working – for so many hours a day – at tables and chairs that do not fit our purpose
  • Pain in our neck, shoulders and backs.

What is the neck and shoulder solution? Yoga!

Here are 5 accessible yoga poses that will help you ease neck and shoulder pain. If you’d prefer to view this as a VIDEO PRACTICE, simply fill in the form below and receive this practice AND MANY MORE in your inbox. Weekly newsletters are sent on a Monday and EVERY ONE has a free yoga video or unique content. Free every week, forever!


Warm up the neck to avoid pain
Warm up the neck to avoid pain
  1. Warm up the neck in Hero’s pose

Yes, we covered hero’s pose recently but this is a DIFFERENT VARIATION!

Sit with your knees together, sitting bones to heels. You can place a yoga block or cushion between the feet if this is more comfortable for you. Interlace the fingers behind the head and, INHALE, open the elbows wide and look up. EXHALE, drop the chin to your chest and allow the weight of the hands to sink your head down. You can keep a straight back or allow the back to curl one way then the other. See if you feel a stretch on the armpits as you open the elbows and look up.

This is also a great pose to start your day with, to wake up the neck and shoulders and release any tension you’ve built up by being so still and asleep.

Stretch the back and shoulders
Stretch the back and shoulders
  1. Release tension in the back and shoulders with Thread the Needle pose

Thread the needle is such a great pose to release tension in the shoulders and back. It’s a gentle twist that stretches the outer shoulder, ah it’s the best!

Start in table top pose, hands under shoulders and knees under hips, and reach your right hand up to the ceiling then ‘thread the needle’ under the left armpit and as far as you can reach. Then, plant the right shoulder and the right ear.


A: You can keep the left hand where it is for support

B: Reach the left hand to the front of your mat

C: Walk that hand to the top right corner of your mat

D: Reach the left hand up to the ceiling and wrap it around your torso, looking for the crease of the right thigh or you can hold onto your leggings or t shirt instead.

So many variations! I know! And they do unique and interesting things to our back and shoulders. Play around and try to feel which variation works best for you on each individual day and practice.

Challenge your balance while opening up the shoulders
Challenge your balance while opening up the shoulders



  1. Open up the shoulders in Humble warrior

The bowing warrior pose, time to challenge our balance! Humble warrior is awesome for deep stretching through the inner shoulders and opening up the chest while stretching and strengthening the legs, as we’re still grounded in a strong standing pose! Lots of things going on here!

Start in Downward Facing Dog. Lift your right leg up and place it in between your hands, rising up to Warrior I. Interlace your fingers behind your back making one big fist with both wrists together.

INHALE lengthen through the spine, keeping the base, your legs, steady and grounded as your body leans forward, and EXHALE bringing your right shoulder on the inside of your right knee. Try not to let that knee be shaky as your try to bring your hands up and over your head, gently engaging the shoulder blades bringing them together.

To go deeper, engage the pelvic floor and pull the belly in and up, to lengthen and extend more.

Stay for three breaths or more, then INHALE to rise back up to Warrior 1, release the hands and exhale back to Downward Facing Dog. Repeat on the other side!

Seated alternative: Hero’s pose from my latest Heart chakra flow!

Stretch as far as you can in Puppy Pose
Stretch as far as you can in Puppy Pose



  1. Stretch as far as you can in Puppy Pose


Allow yourself to chill out and relax in this pose while getting a deep stretch through the shoulders and back in Puppy Pose!

Start in table top pose again and engage the lower abdomen and pelvic floor, then walk your hands forward. Keep your arms and back straight, with the ribs pulling in. This is an active form of Puppy Pose. To make this more chill and passive, relax the arms, hands and elbows and allow the chest to sink down to the mat. In both variations, the hips should remain stacked above the knees.

Modify it! Bring some blocks under your hands to increase the shoulder stretch.

Deep shoulder stretch with Cow Face arms
Deep shoulder stretch with Cow Face arms
  1. Deep shoulder stretch with Cow Face arms

Open up the shoulders after a stressful morning of meetings with Cow Face pose. Another seated one! Yay!

Start in any comfortable seated pose and reach the right hand up. Bend the elbow, feeling for how far down your back your hand comes. Next, reach your left arm out, bend the elbow and reach the hand towards the centre of your back, back of the hand to your back. Try and catch the fingers and if that’s not possible right now, look to my prop section below!

Try not to let the spine curl while in this pose, keep lifting up through the spine and lifting the elbows up and out!

Use a prop!

If you too are nowhere near to touching your fingers let along catching them, use a sock, a scarf, a belt OR a yoga strap as an extension of your arm so you can make film contact. Our muscles feel safer when we can make that contact so they relax, allowing you to get deeper in this pose. Allow yourself a prop, even if it means having a cold foot for a few minutes!

Practice anywhere!

You can practice this pose without even leaving your desk – although I recommend you do because breaks are important and rejuvenating! Simply sit in your chair and stretch out your shoulders to relieve neck and shoulder pain.


This is not just a blog post – I have made a video too! To access it, all you have to do is fill out the form below and check your inbox! I mail out one free yoga flow EVERY WEEK!

Yes, that’s 4 new yoga videos every month – up to 52 a year! – totally free.

It is my gift to you.




Lolli the Yogicorn


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