Most of us spend our lives in forwarding movements. Let’s take a moment to think and analyze how we live our daily lives, how we maneuver through the endless tasks and become more aware of our daily actions and body shape. We drive vehicles which results in rounding of shoulders, closing off the chest, and forward motion of the body, desk-bounds jobs involve hunching over the computer screens that tightens the muscles of the body and creates tension in the chest. Thankfully, to correct our body shape, to heal our heart and to rejuvenate our spirits we have the natural healing system of yoga.
The science of yoga consists of several heart opening yoga poses that expand the rib cage, perfect the posture, strengthen the shoulders, and energize the soul. Open your heart and shoulders with the practice of these best seven yoga asanas:
1. Bow Pose (Dhanurasana): Lie on your stomach with your hands alongside your torso and legs extended behind. As you exhale, bend your knees and raise your legs up towards the hips. Reach back with your hands and catch hold off your feet. Keep your knees-hip-width apart. With an inhalation, lift your heels away from your posterior and thighs off the floor. Firm your shoulder blades and try to raise your heels as high as possible. Hold this pose for 30 seconds and slowly release.
2. Camel Pose (Ustrasana): Begin on your fours with legs hip-width apart. Place your hands on your pelvis and rotate your thighs inwards. With an inhalation, elongate your spine and lean your head backward. Bring your chin close to your chest. Stretch your arms behind and grab your heels with your hands. Make sure your fingers are pointing towards the toes. Keep your thighs upright to the ground. Do not strain your neck and remain in this pose for 20-30 seconds.
3. Fish Pose ( Matsyasana): Lie in a supine position on a yoga mat. Stretch your arms and legs alongside the floor. Press your forearms firmly into the ground and lift your chest up to create an arch in your upper back. Bend your head backward and rest the top of the head on the ground. Keeps your thighs actively engaged. Hold this pose for 5-10 breaths.
4. Upward Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana): Lie on your face on the ground and keep your legs behind, a few inches apart. Place your hands on the floor next to your lower ribs. Bring your elbows close to your ribcage. Inhale, straighten your arms, lift your torso and legs up and above the floor. Keep your thighs lifted off the yoga mat. Drop your shoulder blades away from your ears and lift your chest up towards the ceiling. Hold this posture for 30 seconds.
5. Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana): Begin in a prone position. Ensure your toes are not tucked inwards to avoid crunching of the spine. Place your hands on the mat with fingers spread out and elbows hugged to the edge of your body. Inhale; elevate your chest and head over the yoga mat. Gaze in the forward direction and keep breathing. Hold this posture for 60 seconds.
6. Locust Pose (Salabhasana): Lie on your stomach on the yoga mat and rest your forehead on the floor. Breathe in, lift your upper torso, legs, chest, arms, and head of the floor while resting your lower ribs, pelvis, and stomach on the ground. Lengthen your legs. Straighten your arms parallel to the ground. Keep your head in neutral position and gaze in the front direction. Retain this posture anywhere between 30-60 seconds.
7. Upward Bow Pose (Urdhva dhanurasana): Lie on your back, bend your knees and bring your heels close to your hips. Raise your arms towards your head, bend your elbows and place your palms next to your head. Keep your forearms parallel to the ground. Inhale; uplift your hips off the floor. Press your hands into the ground and raise your head up from the yoga mat. Make sure the arms remain parallel to the ground, hips raised towards the ceiling and head aligned with the arms. Hold this pose for 20 deep breaths.
Cure your body, mind, and spirit with chest opening yoga postures and live with vitality.