Awake & Evolve: Cycle 3 – Neck and Shoulder Release Practice

The third cycle of Awake & Evolve workouts builds strength and endurance in the lower body, with brief meditations to calm the mind and relieve stress.

Yogi’s Tip

Contraindications for this practice include: recent or chronic shoulder, neck or back injury, menstruation, and pregnancy.

Rabbit Pose

Start by sitting on your shins, then slowly place the top of your head on the mat in front of your knees. Next interlace your fingers together behind your back. Try to roll the shoulders down the back, away from the shoulders and ears. Finally lift your arms over your head and breathe deeply. Keep the majority of the weight away from your head and neck, and in the legs and knees. (**An alternate way to practice this pose is to grab the ankles and fold over touching the top of the head to the mat. Then gently roll forward keeping the weight out of the head, and feel a deep stretch in the neck). Stay here in this pose for 5-10 deep breaths. After a couple of rounds of rabbit pose simply rest in child’s pose.
Child’s Pose

Slowly find your way into child’s pose with your knees out as wide as your yoga mat. Use the hands and press the weight back into toes as you extend your arms in front of body. Stay here for 10-20 deep breaths.
Spinal Release

Come onto your spine and inhale the right knee in towards the chest. Interlace the fingers and inch or two below the kneecap. Gently pull the knee into the chest using the arms, avoiding the ribcage. Press the shoulders and the back of the neck down into the mat firmly. Try to keep your elbows close to the sides of the body. Stay here for 5-10 breaths and repeat on the opposite side. Repeat for 2 full rounds on each side.
Plow/Knee Pressure Pose

Gently begin to lift your legs over your head until your toes touch the floor behind your head. Interlace your fingers behind you and straighten your arms along the floor. Roll your shoulders underneath you to keep the weight out of your head and neck and in the shoulder girdle. Keep your hips active and lifted upward. Stay in this pose for 5-10 deep breaths. If you wish to go deeper, work into ear pressure pose by bending the knees to meet the ears. Stay here for 10-15 deep breaths.
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