Chest openers are some of the most rewarding stretches in yoga. They are a great way to open up the muscles in the chest to reverse forward leaning posture and they are great for creating freedom and space around your heart.
It is important to maintain an open chest especially if you sit at a desk all day or if you are an athlete. If we’re hunched over a computer all day or not sitting in the correct chair, sharp pain between the shoulder blades or chronic feelings of tightness in the back may occur. This can create poor posture. So when we huch over, we are compressing the lungs, making them harder to expand with deep breaths. If you are an athlete, activities like lifting weights or strength training can shorten, tighten and dehydrate these muscles which can cause poor posture, which can in-turn, inhibit breath function.
Chest openers can help correct overly rounded shoulders and upper back pain, resulting in better posture, which can lead to better breathing.
This week’s featured classes will be sure to help open the chest and upper back to create freedom and space around your heart.
- Sit and Open the Chest and Shoulders with Marla Apt: Prepare for a sitting session or moving throughout your day with compactness and firmness in the hips. Practice opening the chest and shoulders in this simple seated posture. A short hold brings life and vitality to your posture while remaining grounded. Props Suggested: Two blankets.
- Improve Your Posture with Shoulder Strengthening and Chest Opening with Jason Crandell: Use a mindfully paced sequence to strengthen the back of your shoulders and open the front of your chest. Remedy your posture and bring comfort to your shoulders, neck and upper back. Also strengthen your core and release accumulated hip tension. Expect a complete yoga practice that improves your wellbeing and leaves you feeling better in your body. Props Needed: Two blocks, a strap, wall space.
- Opening the Eyes of the Heart with Tias Little: The region just below your collar bones is crucial to stretch and open, especially as you spend more time in postures behind the wheel and in front of your computer. In Chinese Medicine, this area refers to the lung meridian. Feel greater buoyancy in the upper part of your chest through plank pose play and countering stretches with your strap. A great counter to the challenges of daily life and overuse of your arms. Props Needed: A strap, block and a blanket.
- Pranify with Kia Miller: An advanced breath practice to open up your lungs and revitalize your energy. Begin with pranayama to build your prana and stimulate your energy. Mindfully move through a modified version of sun salutations, increasing your breath in backbends like cobra, bow, camel and shalabasana. Focus on opening your chest and increasing lung capacity. Class culminates in a brief pranayama to awaken and focus your energy. Props Suggested: A blanket.
- Revitalize with Chair Backbends with Annie Carpenter: Lift your energy with deep chest expansion with the help of a char. Open your shoulders, lungs and heart. Learn essential hip and sacral actions to keep your lower back long and safe. This is deep and specific and will refresh your energy.