After teaching class the other day, a new student came up to me and asked me about the numbness in his hands that he feels after sitting at his computer all day. “Is it Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?” he asked. “Yes,” I replied, “but it might not be coming from your hand.” I had noticed as he stood in Tadasana in class that his right shoulder was hiked up higher than his left. I asked him if he also suffered any neck pain on that side, and he said it had been an issue his whole life, and that he could barely bring his chin down to his chest when it was turned to the left. He said he had started yoga because he was hoping to get rid of the pain and heal his neck.
Yoga is a great practice for pain relief (although sometimes the new, unfamiliar poses bring on some new, temporary pains!). For specific concerns, however, it’s always good to get a targeted pose or set of poses to practice.
I recommended he practice the When No Means Yes pose from the Yoga Tune Up® Quick Fix for Neck video posted below and also available here. This will both stretch and strengthen the muscles in the neck and create some relief, both from the pain in the neck, and also from the radiating discomfort that moves down through the nerve into the hand.