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Five Stretches to Relieve Neck Tension

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

Have you ever wondered what neck stretches you can do to relieve tension, increase mobility, and not take up too much of your time? Well you have come to the right place! There are many different causes of neck tension and it is always recommended to get looked at by a professional before starting anything new.

For simple stretches to relieve neck tension, follow the exercises below!


The Stretches:

  • Thread the needle

  • Cat/Cow

  • Side neck stretch

  • Baby cobra

  • Supine spinal twist

The Directions:

Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and focus on breathing deeply during each stretch. Move slowly and with your breath.

Thread the needle

  • Come onto the floor on your hands and knees in the tabletop position. Place your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees stacked underneath your hips.

  • Ground deeply into the left hand and as you inhale reach the right arm up towards the ceiling. As you exhale take the right arm and thread it underneath the left armpit moving the arm toward the left. Move back and forth, following your breath.

  • See if you can focus on feeling the movement in your spine, moving slowly. Repeat on the opposite side.


  • Stay on your hands and knees in the tabletop position. As you inhale, allow the sitting bones to rise, belly drop, chest and head lengthen forward.

  • As you exhale, allow the sitting bones to tuck, spine rounds, and tuck the chin down toward the chest.

  • Following your breath, continue to move back and forth between the movements.

Side Neck Stretch

  • Come into a seated position. Drop the chin down toward the chest, take a couple of breaths here. Then slowly move the right ear toward the right shoulder. Pause here.

  • Release the chin back toward the chest. Then slowly move the left ear toward the left shoulder. Pause here.

  • Repeat as much as you would like.

Baby Cobra

  • Lay on your stomach. Ground the palms underneath the shoulders, gently drawing the elbows in toward the sides. Ground the tops of the feet onto the floor, front of the pelvis, and gently hug the navel in toward the spine.

  • As you inhale, slowly lift the forehead and the chest off of the floor. Imagine you are lifting the crown of the head forward and up, lengthening the entire spine. Be mindful of the back of the neck in this position, maintaining space.

  • Hold for a few breaths.

Supine Spinal Twist

  • Turning over onto your back, lying down. Bend the knees, ground the feet onto the floor. Take the arms into a “T” position, palms facing up. Cross the right leg directly on top of the left. Ground into the left foot, move your hips slightly toward the right. Allow the knees to drop toward the left moving toward the floor. You can use a block or a pillow if the knees don’t touch the ground.

  • If it feels okay for your neck, take the gaze to look toward the right hand.

  • Slowly take the neck back to neutral and guide the knees back through center.

  • Repeat on the opposite side.

These five stretches should help get you moving while supporting you in relieving neck tension. We have practitioners who could assist you in your movement journey as well!

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