Two Great Chest Openers Provide a Physical and Emotional Stretch

Some of the best chest openers are shoulder openers or backbends. Take just a second right now to consciously pull your shoulders back and down while puffing out your chest, and you will feel the connection between these three types of poses. Chest openers are important not only because they offer a great physical stretch, but also because they promote emotional opening. If you want to gain these benefits, try building up to these two poses as part of your next practice:

Bow Pose: Begin by lying on your stomach, then bend your knees and reach back to grasp your feet with your hands. Once you have a solid grip, make sure that your thighs are parallel to the sides of your mat, rather than splayed outwards. Inhale and raise your chest, pulling back through the arms to form a bow with your body. As you breathe in and out, you may rock back and forth, enjoying this massage to your internal organs before slowly releasing back down to your belly.

Fish Pose: Enter this pose by lying flat on your back. Leaving your legs straight, bring your hands (palms down) beside your hips. Keeping your forearms on the ground, slowly begin to raise your chest toward the sky and tilt your head upwards so that you are resting on the crown of your head. This pose opens your heart without the somewhat strenuous movements required by bow pose.