Release Neck and Shoulder Tension from the Past Year With This 20-Minute Yoga Flow

It's no secret that the end of the year is stressful. There are holiday parties to attend, gifts to shop for, work to cram in before taking a much-needed break, and so much more. Unfortunately, stress means that we hold a lot of tension in our neck, shoulders, and upper back. If you don't have time to squeeze a massage into your already-packed schedule, luckily there are a whole host of stretches to help you find release. In the latest episode of Good Moves, BK Yoga Club co-founders Alicia Ferguson and Paris Alexandra have built a 20-minute yoga flow that targets those exact tight spots.

Experts In This Article
  • Alicia Ferguson, certified yoga practitioner and creative wellness entrepreneur
  • Paris Alexandra, wellness artist, yoga and creative mindfulness facilitator

This flow begins standing with your feet hip-width apart and grounded into your mat. Here, Ferguson and Alexandra give you a moment of stillness with your eyes closed to allow for inward reflection without any judgment from your to-do-list-focused brain. Setting an intention at the beginning of a yoga practice—especially one that focuses on relieving stress and finding release in your muscles—is essential, because that will be what guides you through the flow, allows you to check in with your body to really feel where the tightness is, and helps you find some emotional and mental release alongside a muscular release.

Following the reflection, Ferguson and Alexandra start out with a series of shoulder circles to help you find warmth and movement in your muscles, getting them ready to fully reap the benefits of the practice. Alexandra reminds us that throughout the flow, it's essential to focus on alignment from your head to your toes, making sure to stand tall and really press through your heels and engage your core. The whole practice moves slowly and uses basic poses, allowing you to focus on your form, control, and alignment the entire time.

Throughout the flow, both instructors provide variations and adjustments that you can use to deepen into each stretch, opener, and bind or to ease up the intensity so you can really feel the work that your shoulders and back are doing. Additionally, while the practice is mostly focused on your upper body, many of the positions also work to open your hips and lower back since everything is connected and works together.

Ready to get started? Click on the video above to follow along with a 20-minute yoga flow to help release tension in your shoulders, neck, and upper back.

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