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Yes. Yes. What Linda said. Ditto. Please please please have more practical points and instructions like the breastbone cue in these articles instead of just talking 'about' yoga. Thank you for this article!


After years of having to insist on my right NOT to do neck rolls, I am happy to see someone explain that they are not 'good' for everyone. What I found most helpful in this article was the note about being able to bring the breastbone parallel to the floor - i.e. taking the arch in the thoracic portion of the spine. Guidepost checks like this are what I need so that I can assess whether a movement will cause pain to a student (or worse, injury!) BEFORE it causes the pain. Thank you for this, and please send more such checks.
(what I found least helpful was the aggravating pop-ups!!)

mike porter

I once went to a one day yoga class where a teacher who was a doctor came to Canada from the US to teach. She did not recommend neck rolls,she did hanging the head to each side, dropping the chin to the chest but still try to feel the cervical curve in the back of neck, keep the chest lifted . She recommended turning the head to the side then looking up, tilting the head back. She said even if your outside and want to look up do the turning to the side first..


Neck issues are indeed a concern.
However the key to doing any yoga is to maintain mindful and safe movement and deciding when something feels painful, therefore making that movement/ asana inappropriate for you. If there is facet irritation the neck rolls can be modified so there is no minimal extension of the neck by not tilting the head back. I also teach my students that if they aren't comfortable to just do half rolls without any extension or you may also modify by interlacing the hands behind the neck for added support.

helen gofeld

Neck issues are important, no doubt. If the purpose of the article was not only to make this statement, but to help teachers with less experience to teach safely, I'd be glad to find more ideas how to substitute neck rolls. Inviting to be creative is not professional.

irene telfer

Well said, Helene Chevrette I also love the newsletters and yoga journal on line...but the pop ups drive me mad. I also have a subscription to YJ magazine but I do like to go on line, so please stop the pop ups


Thank you for addressing neck issues. I have my own and am always careful when teaching anything with neck extension. I have recently been following the very reputable McKenzie protocol for my neck and seem to be seeing good results. This involves stretching by dramatically lengthening the back of the neck by drawing the chin back (creating a double chin effect). The next exercise moves from that position to lengthen and extend the neck backwards creating a big backward bend. There are more exercises but I have to say these two seem to be helping me. Would it be safe to teach these in a yoga class?


I fully agree with Helene. Your pop ups really distract and spoil the reading

Mary Lynn

Thank you for this article. I am very cautious about neck positioning when teaching yoga to my students because I have issues in my own neck. I noticed you did not mention headstand as a pose to approach with caution or avoid. Do you think it's safer than neck rolls or for individuals with disk degeneratoin?

Mary Saunders

Thank you. This was very helpful.


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