You know how sometimes you’re trying to relax and your back starts tensing up? This 12-minute yoga sequence for the upper back is just what you need to relieve tension, soothe soreness, and improve posture.

Yoga is a great way to stretch and strengthen your upper back and shoulders. This 12-minute yoga routine will help you feel more relaxed, calm, and collected. Read more in detail here: yoga stretches for upper back and shoulders.

12-Min Yoga For Upper Back Tension: Stretch & Strengthen


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Long lengths of time spent hunched over electronics, wearing a backpack all day, or carrying a kid may all cause upper back stress and discomfort. This fast yoga routine helps strengthen and stretch the parts of the body that experience the greatest tension during everyday activities: the shoulders, upper back, and neck.

The following is a yoga routine for upper back tension:

This 12-minute yoga sequence for the upper back is perfect if you’re short on time or seeking for a fast shoulder mobility workout.

Effective – to relieve stress and promote range of motion, this yoga practice for upper back stiffness mixes strength with length. To maximize feel-good outcomes, we first boost blood flow into the stressed regions by practicing strengthening postures, followed by stretching.

This yoga sequence for upper back stiffness is suitable for people of all abilities since it does not involve any difficult yoga postures or stretches. Every position is essential and may be tailored to your present physical and emotional condition.

Also, see this article for tips on how to reduce upper back and neck stress, as well as the top 15 yoga positions for tight upper back and neck.

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2 Upper Back Tension Yoga Flows in 12 Minutes

Marjaryasana-Bitilasana (Cat-Cow Stretch)

Yoga for Upper Back Tension: Cat Cow Stretch

  • Start with your shoulders over your wrists and knees under your hips in a tabletop posture.
  • Inhale, lower your belly button, and rise your chest and tailbone to form a U-shape in your spine.
  • Round your spine and softly tuck your chin to your chest as you exhale, reversing the curvature of your spine.
  • Rep for another 30 seconds.


  • To cushion your knees, fold a yoga mat or use a yoga blanket.
  • Do the position on your forearms if you have wrist discomfort. To raise your body, use a small bolster or a folded blanket beneath your forearms.
  • Keep your neck in check and transition between postures carefully.

Kneeling Mountain – Open Arm Twist Flow – Child Pose/Balasana

Yoga for Upper Back Tension: Child Pose Flow

  • Exhale and return to Child’s Pose by bringing your buttocks back to your heels.
  • Lift your knees and sweep your arms out to the sides and above while inhaling. Kneeling Mountain is its name.
  • Exhale and rotate your body to the right, reaching your right arm back and your left arm forward. Turn your gaze to the rear of your mat.
  • Take a deep breath and twist to the left, throwing your left arm back and your right arm forward.
  • Return to Kneeling Mountain by inhaling.
  • Return to Child’s Pose with your hands on your lower back after exhaling.
  • For 30 seconds, repeat the flow.


  • To cushion your knees, fold a yoga mat or use a yoga blanket.
  • Place a tiny bolster or a wrapped yoga blanket between the calves and the back of the thighs if you have trouble sitting on your heels in Child’s Pose.
  • Place a bolster or a yoga block beneath your forehead for support if your forehead does not touch the floor in Child’s Pose.

Bhujangasana (Dynamic Cobra Pose)

Yoga for Upper Back Tension: Dynamic Cobra

  • Come forward on your belly from Child’s Pose into Cobra.
  • Bend your elbows and place your hands on the ground, palms facing down. Lengthen your tailbone by pressing your pubic bone into the ground.
  • Open your chest, roll your shoulders back, and raise your upper body off the mat as you breathe in. Maintain a neutral neck and activate the muscles of the spine.
  • Exhale and lower yourself.
  • Rep for another 30 seconds.


  • For extra support, keep your hands on the mat beneath your shoulders. To raise and stretch your spine, however, utilize your back muscles rather than your arm power.
  • If the stance makes your lower back painful, try Sphinx instead.

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog)

Yoga for Upper Back Tension: Downward Dog

  • Tuck your toes and lift your hips up and back into Downward-Facing Dog from a neutral tabletop position.
  • Root with your hands and drag your navel back to your spine to activate your core muscles.
  • Keep your knees bent as you press your torso towards your thighs to lengthen your spine.
  • Your body should resemble the letter “V” reversed.
  • 30 seconds of holding


  • Straight legs are less significant than a long spine. Maintain the integrity of your spine by keeping your knees fully bent.
  • Keep your chest open by drawing your shoulder blades down your spine.
  • Rather of putting all of your weight into the middle of your hands, press hard onto the outside borders of your palms, fingers, and knuckles. If you have wrist discomfort, place the heel of your hand on a towel or blanket.

Variation of Low Lunge Twist/Anjaneyasana

Yoga for Upper Back Tension: Low Lunge Twist

  • As you exhale, move your right foot forward in-between your hands from Downward-Facing Dog.
  • Come into Low Lunge by lowering your back knee to the ground and untucking your toes.
  • Contract your core and pull your body upright as you sweep your arms above, palms facing each other, as you breathe in.
  • Exhale as you rotate your body toward your front leg, pressing your hands together.
  • Hook your elbow over your front knee and twist harder using it as leverage. Keep your belly button off your thigh.
  • 30 seconds of holding
  • Rep on the other side.


  • To cushion your knees, fold a yoga mat or use a yoga blanket.
  • Start with an Open Arm Twist to ease yourself into the posture.


Yoga for Upper Back Tension: Inchworms

  • Exhale and lean forward from Mountain.
  • Place your hands in front of you and gently crawl forward one hand at a time until you are in Plank Pose.
  • While in Plank, engage your abs, thighs, and shoulders.
  • Hold for a few seconds before crawling your hands back to your feet.
  • Mountain should now be standing.
  • Rep for another 30 seconds.


  • When folding forward, keep your knees slightly bent.
  • In Plank, look between your hands.
  • If necessary, drop your knees to the ground in Plank posture.
  • To experience the stretching and strengthening effects of the workout, move gently.

Plank with forearms

Yoga for Upper Back Tension: Plank with forearms

  • Begin by kneeling on the floor.
  • Place your forearms on the mat so that your elbows are just under your shoulders.
  • Make a straight line with your body by broadening your upper body, drawing your navel in, and lifting your knees off the mat.
  • To cushion your lower back and keep your glutes engaged, tuck your tailbone.
  • Hold the position for around 30 seconds.


  • Keep your neck in alignment with your spine by looking between your forearms or slightly forward.
  • If necessary, lower your knees to the mat. Lift one foot off the mat for a more difficult task.

Mayurasana/Dolphin/Ardha Pincha

Yoga for Upper Back Tension: Dolphin

  • From Plank with forearms, start to slowly walk your legs forward into Dolphin.
  • You may also begin with a tabletop variant on your elbows and knees. Curl your toes under you. Exhale and push your buttocks up and back, lifting your knees off the mat.
  • If your hamstrings/calves are tight, keep your knees bent and concentrate on stretching your spine and keeping open through your collarbone.
  • If you’re feeling confident, walk your feet forward in an A-shape.
  • Keep your neck relaxed yet in alignment with your spine.
  • Hold the position for around 30 seconds.


  • Keep your core moving and avoid letting your ribs fall to the floor. This frequently occurs if your spine is particularly flexible.

Variation of RagDoll/Uttanasana

Yoga for Upper Back Tension: Ragdoll

  • Lower your knees and walk your hands back into Ragdoll from Dolphin.
  • Bring your abdomen closer to the tops of your thighs by bending your knees in a healthy way.
  • Grab the opposite elbow and hang your head heavily between your arms’ frames.
  • Concentrate on stretching your spine and releasing any stiffness in your shoulders.
  • Sway lightly side to side or hang heavily.
  • 30 seconds of holding


  • Even if your hamstrings and lower back are highly flexible, maintain a micro-bend in your knees.
  • Maintain a relaxed neck.

Variation of Warrior I with Eagle Arms/Virabhadrasana I

Yoga for Upper Back Tension: Warrior I Variation

  • Slowly pull your right leg forward, bend your front knee, and settle into Warrior I from Ragdoll.
  • Keep your hips squared to the front, and if necessary, correct them with your hands.
  • Spread your arms out like Cactus arms and wrap your right elbow around your left elbow to form an Eagle.
  • Firmly press your hands together and raise your forearms to the heavens, fingers pointing up.
  • 30 seconds of holding
  • Switch the sides of your legs and the bind of your arms.


  • Maintain a safe distance between your forearms and your brow.
  • If you can’t wrap your wrists, put your hands over your shoulders and place them there. At around shoulder height, maintain your elbows apart from your body.

Prasarita Padottanasana I Variation: Wide Legged Forward Bend with a Twist

Yoga for Upper Back Tension: Wide-Legged Forward Bend

  • Step your feet wide and parallel to each other from Warrior I.
  • Inhale and expand your chest, then exhale and bend forward into a Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend.
  • Place your hands on the mat, approximately beneath your face, after you’ve bowed halfway.
  • Inhale as you roll your right shoulder back and pull your right arm up, twisting your body to the right and up.
  • Return to the fold after exhaling.
  • For 30 seconds, alternate between twisting left and right.


  • If your hamstrings are tight, broaden your stance; if you want a deeper stretch, shorter your stance.
  • For a deeper hamstring stretch, shift your weight to the balls of your feet.
  • If reaching the mat with your hands is difficult, place a yoga block beneath your hands.

Malasana/Yogi Squat

Yoga for Upper Back Tension: Yogi Squat

  • Shorten your stance from Standing Wide-Legged Forward Bend.
  • At a 45-degree angle, point your toes to the front corners of your mat. Place your hands on your heart.
  • Squat down into Garland Pose or Deep Yogi Squat while exhaling.
  • Allow your hips to expand by gently pressing your elbows into your knees.
  • 30 seconds of holding


  • Maintain a long spine from the top of your head to your tailbone.
  • To assist the hips open up further, engage your buttocks.
  • For further support, sit on a yoga block or a bolster.
  • Roll up a yoga blanket and tuck it under your heels if you can’t keep your feet level on the ground.

Cat-Cow seated with hands clasped

Yoga for Upper Back Tension: Seated Cat Cow

  • Sit down in a comfortable posture with a neutral spine after Yogi Squat.
  • Make a butterfly form by interlacing your fingers and bringing your palms to the back of your head. Extend your elbows to the sides.
  • Inhale deeply and expand your chest. Look up and open your elbows as much as possible.
  • Exhale. Bring your elbows forward, chin tucked, and spine curled forward.
  • Rep for another 30 seconds.


  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together as if attempting to hold a pencil between them as you inhale.
  • You may gently push your hands on the back of your head as you curl forward.

Stretch with your arms out.

Yoga for Upper Back Tension: Stretch with your arms out.

  • Your arms should be stretched out to the sides.
  • Imagine touching the walls with your hands. Inhale deeply and attempt to draw these barriers apart by stretching your arms and spine.
  • Lower your shoulder blades. You should already be feeling a significant stretch in your arms and chest muscles.
  • Exhale and curl up your shoulders to your ears, as though the walls are closing in on you.
  • Inhale deeply and stretch your arms.
  • Rep for another 30 seconds.


  • Keep your palms and fingers pointed up and active.
  • If the stretch is too strong, you may maintain your arms straight but with a tiny bend at the elbows.

Ardha Matsyendrasana/Half Lord Of The Fishes

Yoga for Upper Back Tension: Half Lord Of The Fishes

  • Stretch your legs out in front of you. Maintain a flexed foot in front of your body.
  • Bring your right foot near to you by bending your right leg. Cross your right foot over to the outside of your left hip by lifting it. Your right knee should be pointing upwards.
  • To maintain your spine straight, place your right hand behind you.
  • As you lift your left arm to the heavens, take a deep breath.
  • Exhale and rotate your body to the right, hugging the right knee with your left hand.
  • Look over your right shoulder to the right.
  • 30 seconds of holding
  • Rep on the other side.


  • Start with twisting your core, then move your upper back and neck. Lead with the neck, then the upper body, and finally the core to emerge out of the twist.
  • Your buttocks should be pressed into the mat. While twisting, both of your sit bones should remain on the floor.
  • Keep your back hand from collapsing. Instead, raise your spine by pressing into your hand.
  • Continue to pull your shoulders back and down your spine.
  • Sit on the edge of a yoga block if your spine continues to round.

Have you found this quick yoga for upper back stiffness helpful? Please let me know in the comments section below!

Yoga for back pain is a great way to relieve tension, improve flexibility, and strengthen the muscles in your upper back. This article will give you some simple yoga stretches to help release tension and provide relief from pain. Reference: yoga for back pain – beginners.

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  • yoga for upper back pain beginners
  • yoga for upper back pain and neck
  • yoga for shoulder blade pain
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