Heart opening yoga poses are great to improve posture and help relieve the stress placed on our backs. They are also an opening experience to immerse yourself into an open heart and open soul.
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Sphinx (Salamba Bhujangasana) This is a gentle backbend while challenging the chest to open.
Start by laying on your stomach on the mat. Walk the hands in front of you palms pressing into the ground. Elbows will be directly aligned with the shoulders.
Inhale as you press down the tops of the feet and pelvic bone into the mat. Lift the shoulder wide and open the chest.
Exhale and hold. Inhale and repeat this chest opening motion each time.
Cobra (Bhujangasana) This is a great way to open the chest using the upper back muscles.
Start by laying on your stomach on the mat. Walk the hands beneath the shoulders. The fingertips should be aligned with the tops of the shoulders. Elbows will be bent but touching the sides of the body. Forehead can rest on the mat.
Inhale as you press down the tops of the feet and pelvic bone into the mat. Lift the forehead and chest off of the mat still keeping the elbows touching the sides.
Exhale and release back down. Inhale and repeat this lift and release motion.
Boat (Navasana) This is a full body motion and helps to tighten the glutes.
Start by laying on your stomach on the mat. Forehead can be on the ground. Arms are along sides with the palms on the ground.
Inhale as you engage the glutes and core and lift the head, chest, and arms alongside off of the ground. Also lift the feet and legs off of the ground.
Exhale and stay lifted for a couple breaths.
Bow (Dhanurasana) This is a fun way to stretch the entire front body using mobility.
Start laying on your stomach on the mat. Forehead will be resting on the mat. Knees will be bent and the arms will reach back alongside to grab onto the feet above the butt.
Inhale as you engage the core and press into the pelvic bone. Lift your forehead and chest off of the mat and expand the chest wide.
Stay here lifted for a few breaths while finding a rocking motion. Be mindful of the tension on your knees, you want to press the shins away from the butt.
Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) This is a great posture to align the spine and release the lower back while opening the chest to its fullest extent.
Start in a plank pose or high push-up with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and feet are curled under.
Inhale as you slightly shift your body forward and exhale while you lower your chest to the mat. Be sure to keep your elbows touching each side as you lower down. This is the same motion as a push-up.
When your upper body is lowered, uncurl the toes and push the tops of the feet into the mat.
Ground the hands down into the mat and inhale as you lift the upper body into a slight backbend and fullest expression of upward facing dog. Exhale and hold.
The knees should be off the mat only balance on the hands and tops of the feet.
Open the chest by pulling the shoulder blades together behind the back. Lift the chin slightly to look up if that’s comfortable for the neck.