Believe it or not, our chest muscles and thoracic region needs to be regularly stretched to open up and release tension and stress in the body. By hunching over computers and laptops all day, we tend to build tension and stiffness in the front of the body. Here, yoga can come to the rescue. Yoga postures can be a potential tool; the perfect go-to moves after a long day at the office.
Long working hours, sitting at a desk with a rounded back and lack of activity can cause pain in the cervical and lumbar region. When one has a rounded back or poor posture along with a collapsed chest, it also signifies submissiveness, defeatedness, a loss of energy, or a certain lack of excitement and engagement with life. This needs to be corrected and yoga advocates that as we work on altering our physical posture and specifically practice heart-opening yoga poses, we begin to simultaneously open our mind and alter our thought process. Who doesn’t want to look and be more confident? Heart opening poses expand our chest and rib cage, which corrects our posture, our skeletal alignment, makes us look more graceful and we genuinely become more in charge.
Due to the flexibility of the lower spine, the upper and middle back is often under-utilized, leaving them more vulnerable to stiffness and weakness. With heart-opening poses, our upper back and middle back can restore their strength and flexibility.
Most heart opening poses are backbends, in which it is very important to focus on incorporating our entire back muscles. When practicing back bending poses, we must try to distribute the workload evenly throughout the spine and mainly on the thoracic spine (the back of the heart). We can see why these postures are called heart openers.
As these heart openers release tension from the muscles, they have an instant effect of calming our mind and rejuvenating our spirit. Furthermore, they also help to open up the heart chakra, like the “Anahata Chakra” which is one of the major, subtle energy centers located at the center of the chest. This heart chakra is our emotional center which displays our ability to give and receive love. When this heart chakra is tight and restricted due to a tight body, we feel frustrated, angry, and often indulge in self-criticism.
So, open your heart and welcome love and confidence into your life with these 7 heart-opening poses, as seen in the infographic below that are easy and fun to do.