Everyday Somatic Yoga Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 4

Shoulders & Neck Somatic Release

35 min - Practice


Open a skylight in your upper body and let the light in! We explore somatic movement and nerve flossing to access spots in the shoulders and neck that get creaky in our modern age, and then integrate these movements into a creative Yoga flow. Our somatic movements will feel more spacious and expressive at the end of this class, which we close with a restful savasana. You will feel fresh and open in your upper body.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket


Read Full Transcript

Hi, my friends. Welcome back to another somatic yoga session. Today is one of my favorite practices. We'll be working in the region of our shoulders and neck. All of the props you'll need today, blanket that you can start by sitting on, elevate your hips as much as you like, and come into a triple seat.

You might close your eyes. You might get a little of the wiggles out and take a breath. And the invitation here is to locate one thing that you want to say no to. That you don't want anymore of right now. You can open your eyes when you're ready, and our first somatic movement will be the halo.

So you can take your hands together with a loose and per lock and take them up above your head with your elbows bent. Before you start the movement, notice if your head is a little bit far forwards of your shoulders. That's pretty common, but take your shoulders a little more or your ear is a little more over your shoulders and keep that long line head over top of pelvic floor. Then you can start to create a halo around the top of your head by circling your hands. And feeling that movement and lubrication and hydration in your shoulders. Keep going with us.

You can switch directions if you like. Keeping your ears of your shoulders, your shoulders over your hips for 5. 4. 3, you might switch directions one more time. 2, and 1, here you can take your Hands forwards. Flip the clasp towards me. Take that over your head, and your elbows might be bent.

They might be straight to ning. Try to keep the pinky finger webbing tight. Maybe squeeze your biceps around your ears. Take a breath in. On your breath out.

Let your hands unclasp and fall down onto your lap. Nice. Let's take our fingernails together now. Backs of the hands together at your sternum, take the backs of your wrist towards each other, and curl in. Then start to reach that forwards. Can you keep your wrists together as you start to press your hands forward? You might feel a stretch across the top side of your wrists and then take your knuckles together so you're opening up your wrists.

And hands together out front, then flip your palms open. This is where you get this physiology of a boundary Like, you're saying no to whatever it is you don't want. And then you can open up and let your hands come behind you, fingernails behind you, open up across your sternum, your chest, and gently tip it over to one side. Doesn't matter which one. Let your hand come to the floor and maybe swing that top hand behind you a little bit.

A little bit of nerve flossing there. Come into the center, and then tip it over to the other side and open that top arm as much as you like. Come into the center, fingernails back, Hands forwards, we'll reverse it, fingernails towards each other, knuckles towards each other. Hold there for a moment. Risks towards each other.

Hold there for a moment into the chest tuck your chin. Let's try it one more time. Opening up, press wrists together as you start to open, then knuckles, then hands together, flip it open. This is your boundary. Open it up. This could be opening to your yes. Take it over to one side.

Rainbow. Open your top arm over to the other side. Rainbow. Open your top arm. Into the center, reverse it nice and slow. You might feel that nerve flossing feeling through your shoulders, front of your shoulders, and your pectorals here. All the way into center, curl in, release that out.

And then we'll take our forearm together. Anytime you need to switch your legs, go for that. And with your forms together, lift your elbows up and keep them squeezing in towards each other as high as you can go. Then open your elbows and keep your ears over your shoulders and swing your hands back behind you. We really need to move our shoulders like this more often.

And then start to wing your elbows back behind you and squeeze your shoulder blades down your back. Drag them down your back. Like you're making a protective bubble around you, then you can bring your hands forwards, making this protective bubble, reach up, until you can't anymore with your elbow squeezing open. Years over your shoulders wing back. Swing your elbows behind you squeeze your shoulder blades down your back. One more time. You might do it with your breath.

Inhale up. Fax Hailback. Nice. Let that rest and make some half circles with your head and neck seeing if you carry a little bit of the shoulder movement in your neck. Sometimes your neck wants to help out for everything.

And then come back into the center, and we'll work with some more nerve flossing. Let's start with our right arm. Roll your right shoulder internally so your palm flips up your thumb find you and look towards your hand so you're closing up this nerve chain. And then flip your hand up and look away from your hand. It's kind of you're offended by your hand. Ugh.

And take your hand behind you. You can take your thumb behind you. And then we'll close it up roll the shoulder internally look towards your hand and open it up and reach all the way through this nervy area from the base of your skull to your fingertips, to your pecs one more time. Close it up. Open it up. And you can also play with angles.

One thing about somatics that's so beautiful is there's multi planner movement. Come into the center, could close your eyes, catch any differences left to right. And then we'll do the other side. Left hand internal rotation, kind of collapsing the collarbone to look towards your hand, closing that nerve chain, And then opening it up like you're offended by your hand. Closing.

And opening. You might do it with your breath, and you can work with those different angles. Be as dramatic as you like. Close it. And open it up. Come back into the center, chin to chest, and a couple more of those head and neck circles.

This is so good for us desk job warriors. Nice. Let's come into the center, and we'll shift onto our hands and knees into a tabletop. We'll integrate some of those movements into a flow. On your hands, we'll work with our wrists a little bit with straight arms start to shift forwards beyond your wrist line and then back. Tucking your toes forwards beyond the wrist line and back.

Let's go for 3, pressing your finger pads into the floor for 2, And for one. Come to the center and turn your hands out left to right with your finger pads. And then shift left to right. You can let your hips also shift left to right. Think about those old typewriter carriages going straight side to side for 3. Keeping your arms as straight as you can and your fingertips pressing into the mat for 2.

And for one. Come into the center here, and we'll turn one hand all the way around or wherever it gets, you could try for both or do one at a time. If you do that and it's too much sensation in your wrist, why your knees in so there's more weight on your knees and then go forwards and back here. You can try to straighten out your texting thumbs. And I like to peel the heel of my hand off the floor, maybe even bend the elbows a little bit.

As I go forwards and back. So you're invited to check that out for 3. For 2. And for 1, release that out. You might shake your hands or make a wrist circle.

And then right back of the hand to the floor, bend your elbows slowly straighten. Flip your fingernails into the mat. And when you get just enough sensation, do little tiny circles for 3. For 2. And for one. Release that other side back of the hand of the floor, bend your elbows slowly straighten.

And once you get enough sensation circle for 3 little tender circles for 2, and for 1. Flick that out, see how your hands feel, index, fingers, forwards, tuck your toes, reach it into your downward dog. Your breath and your breath out. Remember you're in charge of your movements. Make it yours. And you can walk your hands towards your feet towards your hands.

Come up halfway and your forward fold. Route your big toes and your outer heels. Open your arms come all the way up, reach for the sky. Hands together at your heart if you like. Perhaps you join in for an home.

Your breath in. Your breath out. And for. Inhale into your heart space, exhale at your hands, followed by your sides. And he'll circle it up.

Your flow forward fold. Length in your spine. Step or hot back. However, you get downward facing dog. Roll into an angry cat plank. Straighten it out.

You can lower your knees, lower down to Chattanooga or the floor. Untuck toes reach into your cobra. Up and back to your downward facing dog. Connect to your breath. Connect to these 4 parts of your body touching Earth.

Notice how your shoulders feel. Widening your collar bones and your shoulder blades, squeezing your biceps to center. Bend your knees as you're ready, feet to hands, inhale lengthen. Your forward fold. Route your big toes, your outer heels come all the way up.

Release your arms. Arms up. Forward fold. Find length through your spine. Get to downward dog.

Angry, cat plank, straighten it out lower. Wide collar bones roll through a cobra or an upward dog. You're choice. Downward facing dog feet together at the back of your mat. Left like, hi. You can bend your knee open. Your hips Left foot tool warrior 1 stance, back foot on an angle, and he'll come up to warrior 1.

Interlock your hands, sink your tailbone, bend your elbows. Take your ears over your shoulders and start to create your halo. Breathe into it for 3. For 2, switch directions for 1. Flip your hands forward.

Bend elbows or not reach up into parvatasana. Squeeze your arms around your ears. Bring your low ribs in, and then throw your hands forwards and come up onto your tippy toes on your back foot heel faces behind you. Come on back up so you're in a high crescent. Let your hands come forward.

Curl your fingernails in. Take that in towards the center of your chest round. Straight in your back leg. Start to press that forward slow motion. Hands forwards. What are you aiming for? Flip your hands into that no push away.

Open it up. So nice. Tip it a little to one side. It's a little bouncy. Tip it a little to the other side.

Strong inner legs. Into the center. Take your hands together. Cur them all the way back in towards your chest round in. 1 more in your lunge, forearms together, reach up ears over your shoulders, wing your elbows back, protective bubble all around you.

Reach all the way up. Hands to the floor. Walk yourself all the way around to the wide edge of your mat. Take a breath in, and then bend your knees as much as you can. Exhale. Straight note and sink your hips back and down.

Straighten out. You can tighten your kneecaps and then sink in. Left hand underneath your nose, up on fingertips, or flat, right arm up into a twist. Right hand underneath your nose. Left hand up into a twist. Left hand down, right hand behind your head, open up into a twist, leading with your elbow rolling your underside ribs towards the sky.

A little more tricky. Switch sides, right hand down, left hand on behind your head. Twist lead with your elbow, widening your bottom collarbone. Come on down, hammock shape. Walk your hands way forwards. See if you can put the root of your thumb together.

Fingers wide. You can bend your knees here and let yourself come into a little bit of a melted heart. And you might think of taking your low belly a little away from the floor. You can let your head hang and your biceps, maybe for some, your head reaches towards the floor. Breath in. Breath out.

Left your armpits, walk your hands underneath your shoulders, and then walk all the way around to the back of your mat here, framing your right foot. Step back into your downward facing dog, brass, and recalibrate at the back of your mat. Press out. Rule into an angry cat plank, straighten it out. Lower down your choice of flow.

You might take an upward dog or a cobra. Then come back to downward facing dog. When you're ready feet together, back of the mat, right leg high, you can bend your knee open your hip. Right foot into warrior 1. Back foot on an ankle.

Inhale rise up warrior 1. Sync your tailbone and your front ribs. Interlock loosely ears over your shoulders. Start to create your halo for 3. Switch directions for 2.

And for 1, flip those hands forwards, even put the weird knuckle on top, reach up into parvatasana sink a little lower into your warrior 1. Spread your breath into your armpits. Throw it forward. Undo your interlock. Come onto your back, set a tippy toes.

Come all the way back. Up. Take your hands forwards in a high crescent. Fingers turn in towards each other, bring backs of your hands together, round straighten your back leg any amount. Bring that forwards pressing your knuckles together aim it forwards. Flip your hands open.

Press into your and no. Create a boundary. Find your balance. Open that up. And then tip it a little to one side, maybe you even wing that top arm back. Into the center, tip it over to the other side.

I'm with you. Maybe you wing that top arm back into the center hands together. Curl it all the way in towards your chest. One more here, forearms together, ears over shoulders, reach up, open it wide, create that protective bubble all around you when you're shoulder blades down your back or sweep them down your back. Reach up. Touch the sky. Hands to the earth.

Walk all the way around to the wide edge of your mat again, wide legged forward fold. Take your right hand under your face and your left arm up into a twist. Widen your bottom collarbone. Left hand underneath your face, right arm into a twist, press the ground away. Little bit of a trickier twist.

Right hand down left hand behind your head. Lead with your elbow. Little more upper back opening here. And switch left hand down, right hand behind your head. Open up your twist there.

Maybe some more resistance. Hands down underneath, walk way forwards. Try to take the root of your thumb together. And reach into a bit of a hammock. You can bend your knees here a bit.

Maybe you connect to the band between your frontal bones and lift your low belly a little away from the floor. Lift your armpits a little bit out of the floor and take a breath. No rush. So good. Hands underneath your shoulders. Walk all the way around to your front foot framing your left foot front of the mat. Step back to your downward facing dog.

Your breath in. Empty it out. You can stay there. You can roll into that angry cat planks. Straighten it out toned legs, wide collar bones lower to the floor to Chaturanga.

Roll through to your upward dog or cobra, and up and back to your downward facing dog. Roll over your toes, knees to the earth, hips over your knees. Take your right arm up into a bit of an awkward twist, thread it underneath your left, armpit, and let your right temple come to the floor. You can spider finger your left hand, press into your left hand in front of your face, and roll a little, like you're trying to roll towards where you take a ponytail at the back of your head and look a little bit up. Unlocking rotation in our upper back can sometimes create some ease and our shoulders and our necks.

You might be connecting to that. Always an option to take your left arm into the air. Internally rotate it and take it behind your back if you like. Switch side. Left hand down. Right arm back up, tabletop, take an arch, and take around.

Shift forwards. Left arm up into that awkward twist. Underneath your right armpit. Left temple to the floor. You can spider finger with your right hand and press into that right hand to allow you to rule towards the back of your head.

If you like your radar might go skyward, it might internally rotate and thread behind you. Take a beat. Right hand down. Same with your left. Art.

Inhale. Round on your exhale. So good. Come into your downward facing dog. Stretch long through your spine. We'll come back down into our seats. This is where you might grab your blanket sit up again, and we'll reverse our movements coming back to our somatic movements and nerve flossing.

So find your long line interlock. Halo. And notice here when you're doing this, you might soften around your shoulder joints a little bit Do you feel that this range is changing or you have access to different emphasis points? 3, change directions. 2, and 1.

Flip your hands forwards. Read up. Squeeze your biceps around your ears. On your breath out, let your hands fall to your knees, will spout out the top of your head. Nice.

Hands in towards your chest. Risked together. Curl. Let your neck find some release there, your upper back, round. And then press 4 words. Keep your wrist pressing forwards.

As you start to straighten your arms and then slow motion, reach it forwards, press away. That's your boundary. Open it up. Maybe you're opening to a yes here. Tip it to one side. You might take that top arm behind you a little bit. Has that changed up into the center over to the other side? What I love about the same thing beginning end of classes, I really get to track the differences into the center.

In with your hands. Curl it in slow center of the chest. Some result forwards back into your seed. And then one more time. Open it up.

Flip into your hands, push away, embody that boundary, open it up, tip it, wing it back into the center. Tip it over to the side. I'm certainly noticing a lot more space here into the center, hands together, curling it all the way back into your chest. Release that out. You can do those half circles with your head and neck anytime you need to switch out with your legs, you could do that as well.

We'll come up with our head and find our nerve flossing movements. So this time, let's flip our palm up external rotation, open collarbone, and look at our hand. It's like we're holding something, and we're taking a look at it. And then we'll internally rotate so different as last time, close the collarbone, and look away and see if that feels different through this whole region of your neck, chest, all that nervy area, flip up and look. You can play with angles.

And flip down and away, like you're offended by your hand. One more time. Flip up and look maybe a different angle for you and flip down and away. Let that hand come down, find a bit of a neutral place in your shoulders, and catch the residue of that. And switch sides. So we'll, externally rotate and look at our hand, opening the collarbone. And internally rotate and look away.

Pulling back the hand and head. Externally rotate, open up the collarbone and look. And then you can play with angles, look away. So I'm thinking about all the nerves. They have these little sleeping bag sheets around them one more time.

And we're looking to unstick those sleeping bags from the nerves so that they slide and glide. So when this is called nerve flossing, you can maybe tell that you're doing a little bit of that flossing and unsticking those nerves. Let's bring it into center, and you can do those. Have circles with your head. Maybe linger in one spot that's asking for your attention or affection, and you might even do some circles.

Where you go all the way back, switch directions. Alright. Let's lower down onto our back body. So to do that, you can take your heels forwards, hold on, glue your heels to the earth. Also option to let your arms go roll through sacrum. Slowly through low back, through upper back, and finally head. Now you can choose to plant your feet.

And in semantics, we land and locate. So we'll land in our shoulders and neck and skull, the skylight of our bodies, and you could close your eyes and experiment with giving a a little more weight down to your skull and your shoulders and your neck. Now your hands can be wherever for this. We'll do a next strengthener to a neck release. First of all, see how it feels to think about lifting your head off of the mat where you could just slip a piece of paper underneath your head.

So start to feel the action required to lift your head just a little, like you could slip a piece of paper under and then fooch, release it down. Wow. Our head is heavy. Now we'll take our chin a little down, back of the head, a little up. So you're really lengthening the back of your neck and feeling some contraction at the front. And if it feels okay, lift your head about an inch off and then re release your shoulders, uncouple your shoulders from your neck, take a moment there.

Keep lengthening through your neck look up instead of at your belly button and slowly let your head come back down to the floor. And let that bowling ball wait come back to your head. Okay. That gives me a major nook release, see how it feels for you, We'll try one more. So lengthen the back of the neck, lift up. And now if it feels okay, re release your shoulders, And look over your right shoulder into the center.

Look over your left shoulder. Into the center, get long, look up, slow release for 3, for 2. For one bowling ball release to your head. Now you can let your legs open up. You can find a place that feels comfortable for you to settle.

And if you choose, take your hands to your face and give yourself a little massage, perhaps around your temples, maybe into your jaw. You might even pinch your eyebrows, pick them up, and pull them a little towards the ceiling. If you're a person who furrows their brow when you're concentrating like me, give yourself a little reminder to soften. There. Then you can take a breath in.

Let it go. And you might come back to your boundary, whatever it is for you today, that you're working towards creating a healthy boundary. With towards And perhaps that makes space for whatever you'd like to say yes to. So you might bring that into your body, your hopes and your dreams. So you're completely welcome to take all of the rest that you need, especially if you have time for it.

Feel welcome. You might tune into Any sensations of weightedness that you have in your head and your upper back right now, the ability to land your upper body onto the earth to rest it. You might start to wiggle your fingers and your toes and maybe reach your arms and your legs. Full body stretch. You can bring your knees in towards your chest.

Roll to his side. Come on up to close our practice. If you like taking your hands to your heart, bowing in and acknowledging that you took time. To attend to your needs. And if there's benefits that come from this practice, you might be inspired to pay those forwards to other beings and their earth.

Thank you for being here, Shanti. Peace.


Martha K
3 people like this.
This practice gave me so much joy! From the opening intention to the final release I was all in. Like magic! 
Kate M
Lots of fun, freeing ideas here : )
Thank you for this lovely and helpful sequence : )
Lydia Zamorano
Kate M Fun and free sounds good to me! Thanks for letting me know Kate! Wishing you a luminous holiday! Lydia 
Lydia Zamorano
Martha K Martha! That is so delightful to hear! Wishing you a gentle and nourishing solstice. Warmth and smiles, Lydia 
Agatha H
oh my, one of the most beautiful, needed things ! thank u so much, you are a true blessing. much love

Lydia Zamorano
Agatha H Agatha that is such sweet news to hear. Thank you for commenting. Wishing you a peaceful new year. Lydia 
Lina S
I'm prone to tendonitis (elbows) and I often feel neck pain. This practice helped me release some tension in my neck. It gave me ideas of exercises to practice more.
Lydia Zamorano
Lina S That is wonderful to hear Lina. I'm happy to hear this practice inspired you to move in different ways that are supportive for your upper half. Thanks for commenting. Warmth and care, Lydia 
Christel B
Oh that was just wonderfully delicious! My shoulders and neck are much happier now. Wishing you all the best for 2024.
Lydia Zamorano
Christel B Same to you Christel! Warmth and care, Lydia 
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