Four yoga heart-openers to help you expand.

Expansion may arise through the surya namaskar movements, and also, of course, yoga heart-openers. As a prelude, yoga heart-openers (aka yoga backbends) are essential for our posture as we spend so much time hunched over, whether at work, while driving or while on our device.

A slouched posture with a chest that is caved-in is a posture of fear and stress. Our ribs (and therefore our diaphragm) are encumbered in breathing. Think about it, a posture that is kyphotic in the thoracic region is a defensive position.

So opening up our heart space (anterior thoracic region) requires a degree of courage, both physically and emotionally. When we open up ourselves to others, it requires courage. It requires us to be vulnerable and authentic in our sincerity. The same can be said when we open up physically in our heart space.

Here are some links on yoga backbends (with the watchpoints – so please don’t skip them!):

These next four yoga poses may help you open up yourself for expansion in your life, both physically and emotionally.

Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose).

Setu bhandasana or bridge pose is a heart-opener at its most basic. It not only opens up your heart-space, but it also works your back and butt muscles (anything that stretches one side of your body contracts or works the other).

Unsupported bridge pose
Block-supported bridge pose

Watch the video below to get into bridge pose.

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose).

This yoga asana is a good example that even being in a prone position we can open up our chest and lengthen out the spine. Cobra pose is gentle, but also is a backbend, so your tailbone lengthens downward (i.e. our pelvis tilts backward as in cat posture).

Unsupported cobra pose.
Bolster & block supported bhujangasana.

Keep your chest and shoulders open and broad, with the sternum leading the way. Mindfully practised, bhujangasana helps to remind us how good posture feels.

Crescent Lunge.

This yoga posture is key for more challenging options, such as Virabhadrasana A (Warrior 1) and Ekapada Rajakapotasana B (Single-Legged King Pigeon 2). It not only opens up our heart-space, but also the whole length of our front body up to the front thigh of the hind leg.

If there is strain on the hind leg in this pose for you, cushion it with a rolled towel, or a foam block (as in the right picture above). If you have high-blood pressure, perhaps looking forward may work better than looking upward as depicted here.

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose).

Dhanurasana or Bow Pose is another prone yoga posture that opens up the entire length of the front body, and also stretches your front thigh in act activated position.

Check out the video below as to how to get into this yoga asana.

Yoga heart-openers help with our expansion because they open up our heart chakra, which is said to be our gateway from the physical to spiritual. When our heart space is open, we gain a sense of confidence, wellbeing and connection. More will be discussed when I talk about the chakras in more detail later.

Let me know in the comments or email me to tell me how these heart-openers have helped you (or if I can help you with them)!