Seated Chair Twist to Relieve Neck and Shoulder Pain

Pose: Seated Chair Twist

Sanskrit Name: Bhardavajasana

How do I set up for the pose? 


 One firm chair with a blanket on seat. One block. One belt. Two sandbags.

Pranayama: Breath work

Inhale and exhale rhythmically in the pose to center yourself in the present moment.

Step one = Assess

My one-on-one assessment teaches you about body mechanics, joint position, muscular action/reaction, connective tissue health, nervous system health, and bone and spinal alignment.   

Step two = Apply  

Read How do I practice the pose? first. Do your best to remember the directions, but try not to get caught up in doing the pose perfectly.

When you practice these poses on your own, practice receiving feedback with yoga props, furniture, and walls. Remember to evenly engage muscular effort across joints. Balance opposite actions such as evenly resisting inward at the shins and outward at the thighs. 

Utilize the knowledge you have learned about body mechanics (creating movement with alignment, awareness, breath, and precision) to create energetic openings and deep releases, so you reach your fullest potential in the pose. Small incremental positive changes are gained on the physical level.

Then, and only if it’s comfortable for you, close your eyes or turn your gaze inward. Feel the feedback you receive from the props and match that with the positive emotion(s) that you want to feel. 

Step three = Activate

Repeat the pose 3 times on each side. You are repeating the pose to retrain your body, mind, heart, and spirit to feel expansive, abundant, positive, and alive. You are learning to transform habituated patterns of thinking, feeling, and being that create constriction and limitations in your mind, body, heart, and spirit. 

Transformational Work activates: 

  • The body to feel energized.
  • The mind to feel open, fresh, and new. 
  • The heart to feel positive emotion(s). 
  • The spirit to feel alive, connected, and free.

Caution:  If your back hurts at any point, mindfully exit the pose the way you entered the pose.

How do I practice the pose?

Apply props to offer you feedback. 

  • Prop-assistance. Set up a chair with a blanket on the seat. 
  • Face to the right of the chair, and sit towards the edge of the chair. 
  • Prop-assistance. Place a sandbag on each of your feet to connect and anchor you to earth’s energies. 
  • Prop-assistance. Place one block between your lower shins and gently press in.
  • Prop-assistance. Place a yoga belt at the lower thighs (near the knees) and press out at the hamstring side of the thigh. 
  • Press your big toes down into the mat and spread your toes apart. 
  • Imagine pulling the tips of the hips towards the navel to narrow the front of the hips and widen the back of the hips. 

Activates lower core strength and stability. 

  • Anchor the hips down into the chair to stabilize the lower back and engage the abdominals. 

Activate upper core strength.

  • Inhale and take both arms over your head. 
  • Exhale and gently twist the upper torso to the right, starting the twist near the diaphragm.
  • Place both of your hands on the back of the chair and gently squeeze the hands on the back of the chair to connect to your shoulder blades. 
  • Draw your elbows inward towards your torso and extend them backwards. 

Activate upper core strength and power. 

  • Gently engage your rhomboid muscles (inner shoulder blade muscles) to draw the shoulder blades towards to the spine (but not into the spine). 
  • Gently engage your lower trapezius muscle (back muscles located under the shoulder blades) to draw the shoulder blades down the back. 
  • Stay engaged through your feet, shins (press in at the block), and lower thighs (press out into belt) to maintain stability in your hips, lower core, and lower back. 

Breathe rhythmically and mindfully. If possible, remain in the pose long enough to feel the elevated positive emotion(s) you want to feel. Soften your jaw, face, and eyes.

  • On each exhalation, lift at the diaphragm, and twist deeper (without force). 
  • Gently turn the head and cervical spine (neck) to the right. Keep the head level by leading the neck twist with the right ear and keeping the left ear level to the right ear.  
  • If comfortable, remain in the pose for 10-20 breaths.

Exit the pose. 

  • Exhale out of the pose.
  • Remove the props. 
  • Turn to the second side of the chair and replace the yoga props in the same locations. 
  • Repeat the pose on the second side with the twist to the left. 

Once you are in the pose, go within. Breathe rhythmically and mindfully.

Pause and Reflect. Decide how you want to feel while you are in the pose. Ask yourself these questions: What do you need to let go of (exhale)? What do you want to receive (inhale)? 

  • Exhale and let go of what no longer serves you: pain, tension, tightness, anxiety, fear, sadness, lack, scarcity, insecurity, separation, and so forth. 
  • Infuse Yourself Now: Inhale and feel what you want to bring into your future such as suppleness, flexibility, strength, freedom, joy, happiness, peace, vitality, loving-kindness, inclusivity, connection, unity, understanding, abundance, love, wealth, good health, and gratitude.
  • Breathe rhythmically and mindfully. If possible, remain in the pose long enough to feel the elevated positive emotion(s) you want to feel. 

How do I exit the pose? 

  • First inhale and then exhale as you exit the pose. 
  • Return to the front of the chair, pause, and feel the effects of the pose.





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