9 Yoga Poses to Release Tech Neck Pain

avatarKelly Collins

Fix that forward hunching posture with these nine yoga poses that relieve tech neck.

Pause for just a moment and check in with your posture. Is your chin jutting forward? Are your shoulders rounded? Is your upper back hunched over? Do you feel pain in your neck and upper back?

We are living in a time where the majority of people spend hours every single day looking down at phones and computers. This posture is called “tech neck” and leads to tension and knots in your neck, shoulders, and upper back, which can cause serious damage to your spine.

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Actively stretching and strengthening the right muscles is key to combating tech neck. Certain yoga postures stretch out the neck, chest, and deltoid muscles that tighten up from hunching over your screen. Other yoga postures can strengthen those weak muscles so you’re less likely to slump forward after a day at your desk.

These yoga poses help reset your neck, shoulders, and spine to alleviate tech neck. Practice these poses once or twice daily, especially on days where you will be at your desk or on your phone more than usual. You’ll need a yoga block or a small pillow, and you’re ready to go!

Tech Neck Cat Cow | 8 breaths

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This variation of the traditional cat cow sequence will help to realign your neck, reset your shoulders, and relieve pain caused by looking down at your screen.

  1. Kneel down on your mat and put a block or small pillow between your feet. Sit your hips back on the block or pillow. Place your palms face down on your knees.
  2. Exhale to lean back against your palms and tilt your chin down towards your chest, rounding your spine.
  3. Inhale to lift your chin and chest. Slide your hands back into your hip creases and point your elbows straight back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Then lift your chin and chest up towards the sky.
  4. Continue alternating postures for eight rounds of breath.

Jalandhara Bandha | 5 breaths

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Use this simple yoga pose to help realign your cervical spine, preventing a hunched over back.

  1. Begin kneeling on your mat with your toes tucked under and your hips on your heels. You can also sit on a block. Place your palms face down on your knees.
  2. Tilt your chin down slightly and lift your chest up slightly. Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  3. Then, pull your chin back towards your throat. You should feel a lengthening in the back of your neck as your cervical spine comes back over the thoracic spine. Hold for five deep breaths.

Bound Forward Fold | 5 breaths

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Straighten up your chest and shoulders with this forward pose.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width distance apart. Interlace your fingers behind your lower back and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Make sure that there is a tiny bend in the elbows.
  2. Inhale to puff up your chest, then exhale as you bend deeply into the knees and fold forward.
  3. Rest your torso on your thighs and allow your hands to come off of your lower back as much as they can without forcing it. Hold for five breaths, then slowly stand back up on an inhale to release.

Baby Cobra | 5 breaths

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Straighten out your posture by strengthening your back and rear delts with this heart-opening pose.

  1. Lie face down on your mat with your legs straight back behind you. Bend your elbows and place your palms on the mat next to your ribs. Your elbows should be stacked over your wrists.
  2. Press your feet down as you inhale and lift your head, chest, and palms off the mat. You should feel the muscles that run along the spine strengthening.
  3. Hold for five deep breaths, then gently release.

Camel | 5 breaths

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Take the hunch out of your back with this chest and throat opening yoga move.

  1. Kneel down on the mat with your knees hip-width distance apart. Place your palms on your lower back with your fingers pointing up and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  2. Inhale to lift your chest up and back to come into a backbend. Make sure that you are lifting out of your lower back the entire time.
  3. You can keep your hands on your lower back or to go deeper, place your hands on your heels. Once you are in your full expression, tilt the chin up and back to open the throat. Keep the neck nice and long the entire time. Hold for five breaths.

Downward Facing Dog | 8 breaths

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Realign and lengthen the spine with this classic yoga pose.

  1. Start in a tabletop position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists. Spread your fingers wide and roll your shoulders outward so that the pointy part of your elbows point back towards your feet.
  2. Keep the arms engaged as you tuck your toes and lift your hips up towards the sky to come into your downward facing dog.
  3. Bend your knees as much as you need to for your spine to be straight. Drop your head and press your chest up and back towards your upper thighs.
  4. Hold for eight breaths.

Shoulder Pigeon | 8 breaths per side

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Ease into this chest opener to reverse your slouchy posture.

  1. Lay down on your belly.
  2. Place your left palm under your left shoulder and extend your right arm straight out to the side with the palm face down.
  3. Bend your left knee and press through your left palm to roll onto your right shoulder. Place your left foot on the floor outside of your right leg.
  4. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for eight breaths, then switch sides.

Sage’s Twist | 8 breaths per side

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This pose releases neck tension and mobilizes the spine.

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Bend your right knee back towards your right glute so that the shin and top of the foot are on the floor. Then, bend your left knee and bring the sole of the left foot to the inner right thigh.
  3. Tent your left fingers behind your left hip and reach your right arm straight overhead. Inhale, then exhale to twist your torso to the left, placing your right palm on the outer left thigh.
  4. Lower your left ear towards your left shoulder to feel a stretch in the front right side of your neck.
  5. Hold for eight deep breaths, then switch sides.

Supported Fish | 8 breaths per side

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This heavenly restorative pose will reverse the effects of tech neck and poor posture.

  1. Sit on your mat with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Place a pillow or a block on the low or medium height behind you.
  2. Use your hands to lower your back onto the block so that it rests comfortably on your upper back. Your hips should stay on the ground the entire time.
  3. Interlace your fingers behind your head and lean your head back into your palms. Open your elbows out wide. Hold for eight slow breaths.

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Your Next Workout: 9 Exercises to Release Neck and Shoulder Pain

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