Yoga Exercises for your Neck and Shoulders… and Yoga Facial Exercises

by YogaSite.comYoga Face Exercise

You carry the world on your shoulders and something the size and weight of a bowling ball on top of your neck. No wonder you get a little stiff and sore now and then.

The neck and shoulders take a lot of physcial stress and abuse, turning this way and that, nodding, bobbing, jerking, lifting, hunching and straining all day long. In fact, neck and shoulder problems are among the most common injuries. In addition to physical injury, we carry a lot ot stress and tension in out necks and shoulders.

The following simple exercises can help relieve stiffness and tension, and help strengthen the neck and shoulders against injury.

However, be careful when working with your neck and shoulders. Move slowly and deliberately. Pay attention to which muscles are being used. Never go beyone your edge of comfort. This isn’t a workout, test or competition.

1. Chin-to-chest. Inhale and as you exhale slowly lower your chin to your chest, creating a long, gentle stretch along the back of the neck. Take several slow, deep breaths with the chin down. Liftthe head back up on an inhale. Repeat.

2. Ear-to-shoulder. Inhale and then as you exhale slowly lower your right ear toward your right shoulder. It won’t reach, but don’t worry about it. Breathe into the gentle stretch created along the top of the left shoulder and left side of the neck. Take several slow deep breaths. Inhale and raise your head back up. Repeat on the other side.

3. Neck roll. Follow the instructions for ear-to-shoulder, then roll the chin down toward the chest, across the chest and up the other side. Inhale and as you exhale roll the chin down across the chest and up the other side.

4. Shoulders-to-ears. Inhale and raise your shoulders up to your ears, pulling them up as high as they’ll go. Then let go with an “ahhh” and drop your shoulders back down. Repeat several times.

5. Shoulder circles. Raise your shoulders up, rotate them back and down, forward and up again. Repeat several times then go in the opposite direction.

Yoga Facial Exercises

Your face works hard. All day long it helps you see, breathe, chew, speak, laugh, cry, kiss, grin, grimace, smile, frown, sneeze and whole lot more. It gets hit by sun, rain, wind, snow, rubs, scratches, scrapes, make-up, grit and grime, as well as smiles, stares, glares and other looks from friends, family and strangers.

There are about 16 muscles, a dozen bones and assorted arteries, veins and blood vessels that help your face do the things it does. Like muscles in other parts of your body, your face muscles absorb and store a lot of stress and tension. Unless you relax those muscles, they get stiff and hard and look strained. Tense muscles also constrict blood vessels, limiting the flow of blood and nutrients to your face. What’s more, the tension in your face muscles can cause headaches and spread down into our neck and shoulders. A few simple exercise can help relieve facial tension and help you look and feel more relaxed.

Your face deserves a break. Below are a few simple face exercise that help relax tense muscles, release stress and improve circulation.

1. Palming. - Find a comfortable seated position, either on floor on a cushion or in a chair. Sit with your back straight. Begin with your eyes closed. Focus on your breath as it moves in and out of your nostrils. Cool air in, warm air out. - Rub your palms together very fast until they feel warm. Then cup them over your closed eyes. - Repeat. Benefits: Soothes the optic nerve, eyes and area around the eyes.

2. The Great Rub - Place the index and middle fingers of both hands in the middle of your forehead. Rub your forehead by making small circles with your fingers. - Move your fingers across your brow and to your temples, pausing there to give them a gentle massage. This is an area where we hold stress and tension that can often lead to headaches. - Then move down from your temples to the hinge of your jaw, pausing to massage your jaw muscles. - From there, move across your cheeks and up along the side of your nose to your forehead. - Repeat. Benefits: Releases stress and tension, particularly in the temples and jaw.

3. Eye socket massage. - Take your index and middle fingers of each hand and place them on either side of your nose just below the bridge. Rub your fingers up to the bridge of your nose and along your eyebrows. - You’ll feel a notch in your eye socket where the bone begins to turn downward. Rub the notch gently for a moment. Then follow the line of the socket rim down beneath the eye and back up along the side of your nose. - Repeat 3-5 times. Benefits: Relaxes the eyes and surrounding areas, and relieves stress and tension.

4. Clenched smile. - Grit your teeth and open your lips as wide as they will go. - Feel your lips, cheeks, chin and neck stretch to their limit. Hold…and release. - Repeat. Benefits: Increases circulation, relaxes faces muscles, relieving stress and tension.

5. Scrunches - Scrunch your face real tight. Purse your lips, draw your cheeks in toward your nose, pull your eye brows down and bring the flesh of your chin up toward your mouth. - Hold…and release. - Repeat. Benefits: Provides a counter stretch to the “Clench” exercise. Increases circulation, relaxes faces muscles, relieving stress and tension.

6. The Lion. - Take a deep breath. - All at once, exhale forcefully, open your mouth wide, stick your tongue out as far as it will go, say “Aghhhhhhh,” and open your eyes wide and look up. - Repeat 3 times. Benefits: Relieves tension in the throat and face, stimulates the eyes and improves circulation.

7. Cheek Pinch. Pinch your cheeks, by grabbing bits of flesh and giving them a squeeze. Benefit: Improves circulation.

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8 Responses to “Yoga Exercises for your Neck and Shoulders… and Yoga Facial Exercises”

  1. yasmin
    October 8, 2023 at 7:25 am #

    I have been suffering from headache, pain in and around my right ear and cheekbone, jaw and kneck for a good three years now. I hate taking pain killers and wanted to use massage as a tool to release the tension that has been building up for years a its becoming very painfull and effecting my sinuses aswell now. I will let you know hwo I get on. The exercises look excellent and I feel they will help me tremendoulsy. Thank you for making them available free for the public. My sincere prayers

  2. Sandip Bose
    January 20, 2024 at 9:47 pm #

    I have recently exercised and lost a lot of weight. However my face has now a lot of loose skin. How do I tone my face and facial skin

  3. chris
    March 3, 2023 at 1:09 am #

    i would reccomend that u do yoga cardio lift weghts eat fruits vegtables in get a lot of rest in drink lots of water.and massage your face in do facial exressions in turn head left 2 rite fast..make ur neck lose n free twirl ur head around bounce ur head n make ur face tone it self by continue doin that

  4. March 11, 2023 at 12:51 pm #


    I do Yoga myself since three months and i must say that my blood pressure is way lower than it used to be, its truely amazing what it does to your body!


  5. yeca
    April 14, 2023 at 6:49 pm #

    quisiera saber que ejercicio de yoga puedo practicar para quitar la tension de mi rostro ya que mi cara la siento tensa y estresada y luce demacrada ,las posturas de yoga o asanas cual tengo que practicar o tengo que practicar yoga facial y quisiera que me mandaran los ejercicios a mi email para ver como lo tengo que practicar gracias.

  6. July 1, 2023 at 12:40 am #

    I get stiff shoulders and neck periodically in part due to my bad back/spine, where I have several bulging discs, and one which was also operated on. The rest were not as they were not serious enough to merit surgery, but if I am not careful they could always give me problems. I try to do shoulder and neck stretching exercises as much as possible, especially something similar to the second exercise listed above. I just tried the Palming yoga routine you suggested and it does help to soothe the eyes somewhat. Will give the rest a go!

  7. September 20, 2023 at 3:56 pm #

    Nice article. I also recommend shoulderstand and plow to relieve neck and shoulder tension. You need to study these poses with a qualified instructor to keep from getting hurt, though. In the poses, if you consciously release the muscles of the shoulders and back, your body’s weight will help stretch them out. My massage therapist couldn’t believe I had the same shoulders after doing plow (halasana) a few times a week. But again, this is something you learn to do from a good teacher, not a book or web site.

    Yoga Reviews’s last blog post..Listen to Unlimited Yoga Music

  8. October 7, 2023 at 7:31 am #


    I broke up with my boy friend recently. Since then I became a bit short temper. I dont get angry everyday but! when something really dissapoints me or I have a arguement i really go blank and i dont think clearly……I tried every way to cool my mind but recently I am practicing yoga meditation and I guess its helping me. Thanks to yoga…. if I continue to do this I will surely able to come out of this.


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