Heart opening yoga poses boast a range of great benefits. For starters, they expand your chest and rib cage to make the area more receptive. Heart openers are also a great way to improve your posture. When you have a rounded back, your chest collapses; in addition to being bad for your health, this position portrays meekness and submission. Opening your chest gives the opposite impression, allowing you to exude confidence and authority. In this article, we explore some of the best yoga poses to open the heart. Before practicing, be sure to pick up a number of supportive yoga bras.
Cobra Pose is one of the best poses for opening the heart. To practice the asana, begin lying flat on your stomach. Extend your legs out behind you, keeping the tops of your feet on the floor. Next, place your hands flat on the mat, letting them lie directly under your shoulders. Gently draw your elbows back into your body whilst pressing your thighs and the tops of your feet into the ground. Stay in this position for a couple of seconds, taking time to concentrate on your breathing. When you’re ready, begin to lift your chest off the floor by straightening both arms. Finally, press your tailbone firmly into the floor and engage your bottom. You are in Cobra Pose. For best results, draw your shoulder blades towards your back and distribute the stretch evenly throughout the spine. Hold the posture for around 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply.
As well as opening the heart, Half Frog Pose stretches the shin, ankle, and the quadriceps. To practice the asana, start by lying flat on your stomach. Next, bend your elbows and prop yourself up on your forearms. At this point, your forearms should be parallel to each other. Turn your left arm until your fingers point towards the top left corner of your mat. Bending your left knee, reach your left arm back to grab ahold of your left foot. To increase the stretch, slowly pull your foot in towards your bottom. You are in Half Frog Pose. Hold the posture for 30 seconds before repeating on the other side.
To practice Cat/Cow Pose, begin on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees aligned with your hips. Next, take a deep breath in as you arch your back toward the ground. You are now in Cow Pose. Hold the position for around 5 breaths before exhaling. As you exhale, tuck your chin into your chest and round your back toward the ceiling. You are in Cat Pose. Switch between the two positions for a few minutes for best results.
Bridge Pose is another great asana for opening the heart. To practice the asana, begin lying on your back with your knees bent. The soles of your feet should remain touching the ground. Next, relax your arms and let them drop gently to the sides of your body. Tuck your chin into your chest then lift your buttocks and back off the floor to create a bridge. You are in Bridge Pose. Hold for 15 seconds before lowering your back and bottom back down to the mat.
To practice Upward Plank, begin by sitting on the mat with your legs straight. From here, place your hands behind you and gently lift your hips off the floor. You are in Upward Plank. Keep your legs straight throughout whilst pressing your toes into the floor. Hold the position for around 1 minute for best results.
To practice Upward Facing Dog, start by lying face down on your mat with the tops of your feet on the floor. Next, move your palms underneath your shoulders and point your elbows towards the sky. Press firmly through your hands to lift your head and shoulders off the mat, then press the tops of your feet into the ground to raise your quads. Finally, gaze forward and keep your neck neutral. You are in Upward Facing Dog. Hold the asana for 30 seconds before lowering yourself back down to the mat.
To practice Bow Pose, begin lying face down on your mat with your palms by your hips. Next, bend your knees to move your feet towards your bottom. Lift your head off the mat and reach back to grab your ankles, feet, or toes. Take a deep breath in and kick into your hands to further open your chest. You are in Bow Pose. Hold the asana for 30 seconds before releasing the stretch.
Practising Sphinx Pose is a great way to learn how to draw your chest through your shoulders. This action is great for opening the heart and will be useful for other poses such as Cobra and Upward Facing Dog. Begin the asana lying flat on your stomach. Come up onto your forearms to lengthen the spine, making space for your chest to move forward. Next, roll your shoulders down and back to move them away from your ears. Finally, bring your palms back towards your body to open your chest. You are in Sphinx Pose. Hold the asana for 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply.
The final pose we’ll look at today is Warrior Two. Not only does this posture open the heart, but it also stretches the hips and inner thighs, tones the body, and relieves back pain. To practice Warrior Two, begin standing tall. Take a big step forward with your right leg, keeping both legs straight. Next, turn your left foot out 90 degrees and your right foot in 45 degrees. Finally, bend your right knee and stretch your arms out to the sides. You are in Warrior Two. Hold the asana for 30 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.
Designed to improve the circulatory and respiratory systems and support regular heart rhythms, yoga poses to open the heart are great to practice. For best results, practice wearing a loose-fitting yoga top.