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5-Minute Yoga for shoulders and neck

A lot of us coders are suffering from tensions in neck and shoulders.
I am no exception here: Since I was born with a scoliosis I have even more issues than the average office chair inhabitant.
That’s why I have a routine for me to help this: 5 minute yoga for shoulders and neck.
In this article I want to share it with you.
(And no it doesn’t require you to do a headstand)


If you don’t treat your tensions in neck and shoulders they can result in:

  • headaches
  • malpositions
  • back pain
  • chronical muscle tensions

In this brief article I want to show you some simple things you can to avoid or at least improve this.

And the cool thing about it: You can to it while sitting in your office chair!
(I prefer not to, but if it helps you doing it more often, who am I to judge?!)


I am a yoga practitioner since some years (Ashtanga Vinyasa). Due to my laziness with a bit unstable schedule, but it still helped me a lot.

You can ‘t possibly learn real yoga without a teacher, but some simple things like the ones I want to show here bring benefits regardless if you have experience or not.

Note: If you have yoga experience do the ujjayi breathing technique during these exercises. If not just breathe deep.

The 4 short exercises here can actually do a lot, but don’t expect a miracle from a five minute training!

Let’s go

1. Heels of the hands to the back of your head

Sit straight, raise your arms to the ceiling, but keep the shoulders low!
Put the palms together and cross your thumbs for additional stability.

move the hands upwards
press your palms together, cross your thumbs

Now flex your arms in way that the heels of the hands touch the back of your head.
Press the back of your head and the heels of your hands against each other, while drawing the elbows inward.
Focus on your shoulders! They should be low down. Try to breath into them.
And lean backwards.

connect the heels of the hands and the back of your head
connect the heels of the hands and the back of your head (side view)

Hold for 5 breathing cycles (in + out = one cycle)

2. Eagle arms

First part

Sit straight. Spread your arms and swing the right one over the left one, so that the elbows connect. If possible put your palms together.
Keep your posture straight and move the elbows upwards.
Breathe into the back of your shoulders and relax.

spread your arms
cross the arms, put the palms together

Hold for 5 breathing cycles and repeat with the other arm up.

Second part

Do the same as in the first part, but instead of moving your elbows upwards, breathe out and move them downwards towards your navel. Arch your back like an angry cat.

bow forwards, elbows towards the navel

Hold again for 5 breathing cycles and repeat with the other arm up.

3. Press the sky

Sit straight. Put your arms in front of you and cross your fingers, moving the palms forward (your eyes facing the back of your hands).

arms in front, fingers crosses, palms forward

Now pull your shoulders backwards and down while moving your (almost completely straight) arms upwards. Shoulders down!

arms raised, palms facing upwards

Hold for 5 breathing cycles.

4. 10 fingers up

Sit straight again. As in the previous exercise put your arms in front of you.
But this time don’t cross your fingers, but only hook your thumbs instead. Spread your fingers to the maximum.

10 fingers, thumbs hooked

Now hands up over your head. Shoulders down! Draw your elbows outwards/ to the sides, your thumbs being the only thing preventing them to move any further.
The fingers are still stretched.

10 fingers up

Feel this for 5 breathing cycles.

Then slowly start moving your hands upwards, while constantly breathing deep.

You are done when your arms are straight.

Then relax and feel into your neck and shoulders for some time.
How does it feel?


That’s it. Four simple exercises which can help you a lot. I try to do them several times a day, because when coding and/or being very focused on something I use to generate a lot of tension in neck and shoulders and need to get rid of it before I get cramps…

Stay healthy!