How to Do Threading the Needle Stretch

What is threading the needle stretch?

Threading the Needle Stretch is a stretch pose that opens the shoulders and stretches the spine. It helps to release tension in the neck, shoulder and upper back. It is a calming pose that is great for practitioners at their beginning and advanced phases alike. Also it can also help alleviate chronic shoulder or back pain. The threading the needle pose utilizes the support of the floor to allow for relaxing into the pose and practicer is required to focus on breathing.

Benefits of threading the needle stretch?

Stretch out the upper back

Threading the needle is one of the best stretches for our upper back, especially for those who have a limited range of motion. People whose spine become still because of sitting for long periods of time will benefits from this pose a lot as threading the needle stretch opens up the cervical and thoracic spine.

Stretch the Shoulders

Threading the needle pose stretches the sides and backs of your shoulders, doing this pose helps to ease any pain and tension on the shoulders. It is a perfect pose for those with tight shoulders cause by long time staring at screens.

Relieves Neck Pain and Tension

It is estimated that doing threading the needle stretch for a minute or two on each side is helpful to relives neck pain and tension, and over 99% practitioner feel the same way.  How this pose helps to relieve neck pain and tension? Because threading the needle stretch requires you to slowly twist your neck back and forth and apply gentle pressure with your bodyweight, which may work out any kinks or knots in your neck. 

Promote hip stability

The stretch requires your hips to remain stable, so it also helps promote better hip stability as well.

Beginner Friendly

The threading the needle stretch is a gentle stretch, that is why it is an excellent option for beginners, even those with a limited range of motion. Even if your initial reach is quite limited, do not give up, you will improve from time to time.

Supports Lower Back

Load of pressure on your back is taken off while you keep your hips and lower back in a fixed position doing threading the needle pose, hence this pose is great for relax your lower back too. This is also of huge importance for those who spend long periods of time in a stationary position.


Doing threading the needle stretch does not require too much strength as it is a gentle, beginner friendly pose, the whole process is relaxing, it can often be incredibly relaxing and is part of the reason this pose is a popular choice for yoga.

People who should avoid this pose

For people who have the following concerns better skip this pose as it may cause hurt more than good. 

  • Knee injury or discomfort
  • Neck injury or discomfort
  • Shoulder injury or discomfort
  • Disk or back injuries

You are highly recommend to speak to your doctor if you have any of the mentioned problems before practice threading the needle stretch. Never better to be safe with your body.

Step by step instruction

  • Step 1. Start by position yourself in a table top position (shoulders over wrists, and hips over knees). Then tuck in your chin, and keep your core stable and braced to make sure your back is flat.
  • Step 2. Hold your weight on your right hand and with your left arm, then twist your spine, whilst keeping your lower back and hips still as you reach your left arm further into the stretch.
  • Step 3. Slowly let your shoulders and head to drop down till your left shoulder and left ear rest on the floor. During this period, do not forget that your hips and lower back should stay still. When you feel the stretch, hold for like 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Step 4. Repeat the stretch with the opposite arm.

Common mistakes

Even though threading the needle is just a gentle stretch, there are some common mistakes to stay aware of.

Rushing movement without maintaining a stable hip and core

If you rush through the pose without maintaining a stable hip and core you might hurt your neck in the process.

Letting your hips forward

During the stretch, your back is rocked on your hips as you sink into the stretch. Letting your hips too far forward displaces the pressure intended for your shoulder and may put too much force on your neck. What is more, rocking back gives your hips a nice stretch in addition to your upper body. 

Hunched Back

Your thoracic spine will gently twist along with the threading process, and there are two positions during threading the needle, one is extended and one is neutral. Remember your spine should never flex during this stretch.  


This is a common mistake most people make, especially during new students where they may not know their range of motion or are too anxious to fix body issues. Over stretching can lead to likely injuries, especially if you stretch too quickly or too long.

Holding Your Breath

This is another common mistakes make by many yogis, they just forget to breath, seems like a silly mistake but it happens a lot. It’s common to forget to breathe during stretching, especially when it feels challenging, remember, breath will help you get the most out of your stretch session.

One of the most important tip from my Coach – the most important thing is to keep your hips stable during the stretch. The moment you find your hips moving forward or wobbling back forth, insert a yoga block or pillow between your legs, this will help to engage hip muscles to create better stability during the pose, which can ensure you focus on stretching your back. Learn to protec yourself is the utter most thing in yoga practice, even harder than picking proper yoga wear among so many choices,

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