Our month of love continues with a guide to a few heart opening yoga postures. Heart openers assist in opening the heart and improve the flexibility and strength of the chest and upper back. Here are five of our favorites: 

Bow pose (Dhanurasana): This pose helps strengthen the back, hips, and glutes and improve flexibility in the spine. 

      1. Lie on your stomach with your arms by your sides, palms facing up.
      2. Bend your knees and reach back to grab your ankles with your hands.
      3. Lift your chest and head off the ground, keeping your arms straight.
      4. Engage your core and lift your legs off the ground, creating a bow shape with your body.
      5. Hold this pose for a few breaths, then slowly release and lower your chest and legs back down to the ground.

Camel Pose (Ustrasana): This pose stretches the front of the body, including the chest and abs. 

  1. Begin on your knees with your feet hip-width apart. 
  2. Place your hands on your lower back, fingers facing down. 
  3. Lift your chest and press your hips forward as you reach back to grab your heels. 
  4. Keep your head in a neutral position or allow it to drop back. 

A modification of this pose is to stop after you place your hands on your lower back. Be sure to listen to your body. Camel pose has the ability to bring up a whirlwind of emotions. 

Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana): This pose strengthens the back and opens the chest. 

  1. Start in a prone position with your hands on the floor beside your chest and your legs extended behind you. 
  2. Inhale as you lift your head, chest, things, and knees off the floor. 
  3. Press through the tops of your feet. Keep your hands pressing down and your shoulders away from your ears.

Child's pose (Balasana): This resting pose helps to stretch the back and hips and calm the mind. 

  1. Start on your hands and knees, with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. 
  2. Bring your big toes together and spread your knees out wide. 
  3. Lower your hips back towards your heels and stretch your arms out in front of you, keeping your palms on the ground.
  4. Rest your chest and belly on your thighs and let your forehead rest on the ground.Relax your shoulders and allow your back to round naturally. 
  5. Hold this pose for as long as you like, taking slow, deep breaths.

Bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana): This pose can help to strengthen the back, hips, and glutes and improve flexibility in the spine. 

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. 
  2. Place your arms by your sides, with your palms facing down. 
  3. Press down into your feet and lift your hips off the ground.  
  4. Keep your shoulders and arms relaxed on the ground and lift your hips as high as you comfortably can while squeezing your glutes. 
  5. Hold this pose for a few breaths, then slowly lower your hips back down to the ground.

Always listen  to your body and only go as far as you feel comfortable in each of these postures. If you are dealing with injuries,  it's always a good idea to consult with your doctor before practicing.

 

About the Author

@jordankolunie

Jordan is a Brooklyn member of Wolven’s marketing team. Outside of Wolven, she is a certified yoga and pilates instructor. On her mat is where she finds mental clarity, physical strength, and her source of breath. Her energetic spirit and appreciation for the roots of the practice is visible in her teaching. Wolven is where she combines her adoration for fashion, wellness, and media.