YOGA POSES | HEART OPENERS

CAMEL POSE

CAMEL POSE | Ustrasana

Camel pose is the mother of all heart-opening poses. It opens up the front of the body, works on core strength and improves spinal, hip and shoulder flexibility. It’s a relatively deep backbend, so make sure you have warmed up your shoulders, hips and spine beforehand. For modifications of and instructions on how to get into this pose, check out this page. Ustrasana works subtly, but effectively, to improve the digestive, respiratory, lymphatic and circulatory system. The posture could bring benefit to those suffering from asthma, bronchitis, thyroid and parathyroid disorders.

Some of the benefits of this pose:

  • stretches the entire front of the body, the ankles, thighs and groins,Abdomen and chest, and throat
  • opens the chest, improving respiration
  • stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas)
  • strengthens back muscles
  • improves posture
  • stimulates the organs of the abdomen and neck

Photo credit: White Birch Wellness

 

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BOW POSE | Dhanurasana

Bow Pose is an intermediate yoga backbend that deeply opens the chest and the front of the body. If you’ve ever spent a day hunched over a computer, or if you practice sports that include a forward-reaching motion — such as swimming, cycling, or golfing — you know how good it feels to stretch your arms and lift your chest. Bending backward is a natural way to regain balance after hunching forward!

Benefits of this pose include:

  • strengthening of the back and abdominal muscles
  • stimulating of the reproductive organs
  • opens up the chest, neck and shoulders
  • tones the leg and arm muscles
  • adds greater flexibility to the back
  • combats stress and fatigue
  • relieves menstrual discomfort and constipation

cobra pose

COBRA POSE | Bhujangasana

Cobra pose is a great backbend, that most beginners can practice as well. When done correctly, the shape of your spine should resemble a snake coiling off the floor. Cobra is often practiced in a Vinyasa class as a lead-in to Downward Facing Dog, but when held for longer periods of time, it is a refreshing and highly effective heart opener.

Benefits include:

  • strengthening of the spine
  • stretches chest, lungs, shoulders and abdomen
  • stimulates abdominal organs
  • opens the hearts and lungs
  • combats stress and fatigue
  • therapeutic for asthma

Photo credit: Bethesda 

 

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FISH POSE | Matsyasana

The fish is the stretch that counters the plough, and so follows them in a yoga sequence. The name of the posture derives from the fact that if you adopt the position in water, you will float quite easily. The Asana does wonders for your respiratory systems; when you assume this position, your chest is stretched open and your bronchial tubes are widened to promote easier breathing

Benefits of Matsyasana include:

  • stretching of the deep hip flexors and the muscles between the ribs
  • stretching and stimulating of the muscles of the belly and front of the neck, as well as the organs of the belly and throat
  • strengthening of the muscles of the upper back and back of the neck
  • improves posture

Photo credit: Miann Scanlan

 

Dancer pose

DANCER POSE | Natarajasana

Dancer pose is one of the most effective and stress-relieving heart openers you can do. You’ll feel the tension in your chest loosening and your breath flowing into your chest with ease. It’s an intense pose, so keeping the breath steady is key, and lengthening from your fingertips to your toes will help you get the most of out this pose.

Some of the benefits of Natarajasana:

  • strengthening of the legs and ankles
  • improves balance
  • stretches shoulders, chest, thighs, groins and abdomen

Photo credit: Sjana Elise Earp

 

bridge pose 2

WHEEL POSE | Urdhva Dhanurasana

Wheel pose, otherwise known as upward facing bow is an intermediate (even advanced) backbend that offers benefits to the body mind and spirit, while increasing elasticity and flexibility of the spine. This pose is more challenging than most other yoga postures. Don’t be discouraged if your unable to accomplish it right away. Even attempting this posture without successful completion holds great benefits.

Benefits include:

  • stretching of the chest and lungs
  • strengthening of the arms, wrists, legs, buttocks, abdomen and spine
  • stimulates the thyroid and pituitary
  • increases energy and counteracts depression
  • therapeutic for asthma, back pain, infertility and osteoporosis

 

 

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