Although this can be classed as pregnancy yoga, it's a really easy exercise to release the stiffness and tension in your neck and shoulders at any time, even if you don't do any other yoga for pregnancy poses at all.
Kneel on the floor, sitting back firmly on your heels, back straight and head aligned to your back and neck. Make sure your face is relaxed, open your mouth wide and close again to let the muscles relax in your jaw.
Inhale and take your shoulders up high towards your ears. As you exhale drop your shoulders down, pushing your shoulder blades together and opening out your chest. Inhale again bringing your shoulders forwards and up again in a smooth circular motion.
Repeat a few times until the stiffness starts to leave your body, breathing deeply and keeping your arms relaxed.
Healthy pregnancy tip: Maintaining a good posture helps prevent the build up of tension in your shoulders. A support top is ideal for helping to keep your back straight and easing the weight of your bump.
Another great pregnancy yoga pose to help with stiff shoulders is an adapted Eagle Pose. Full eagle pose or 'Garudasana' is a standing posture on one leg that improves your balance and stretches your upper back, shoulders and outer thighs as well as strengthening your legs, knees and ankles.
But kneeling and performing the arm posture makes this a simple, safe yoga pose for pregnant women that will create space between your shoulder blades, ease tension in your back and stretch your arms and shoulders.
Keep your spine straight, weight even and breathe comfortably. Inhale and raise your arms up to shoulder level with palms facing upwards. Cross your left arm over the right so that the elbows rest on top of each other.
Bend your elbows, wrapping your forearms around each other with palms facing each other. Your fingers should point to the ceiling. If the palms do not touch, keeps one palm resting against the other wrist or forearm.
Remain in the pose for 30 -60 seconds before unwrapping your arms and bringing them gently back so your hands rest on your thighs. Relax and repeat the other side.
This pose can be done by itself to relive discomfort, or as part of a series of yoga poses.
Alexandra McCabe is a founder of https://www.fittamamma.com, the healthy pregnancy experts. FittaMamma is a free resource to help women enjoy an active pregnancy with workout videos, recipes and step by step yoga guides. Read here for tips for how prenatal yoga poses can be used to help a variety of pregnancy aches and pains http://bit.ly/14bgkhu