The Benefits of Heart Openers

Yoga chest openers or back bends are good for mind, body and soul. They counteract today’s relentless hunching – over a computer at work, in a car, at dinner – the list goes on. By lifting your heart, moving your shoulders back and lengthening the front and back of your body, you reduce back pain and shoulder tightness, and at the same time lift your spirits.

The anahata chakra (or heart chakra), comes from a Sanskrit word meaning “unstruck,”. When the heart opens we become more compassionate and connected to others, reducing any tendencies towards isolating oneself and becoming depressed.

Cobra Pose is a powerful heart opener that can be done by all levels, at your own pace.

Lie flat on the floor. Stretch your legs as far back as you can and touch the tops of your feet on the floor. Spread your hands on the floor directly below your shoulders. Tuck the elbows back into your ribs.

Press the tops of the feet, thighs and pubic bone firmly into the floor.

Breathe in and straighten your arms to lift the chest off the floor, going only to the height at which you can keep the connection through your pubis to your legs. Press the tailbone toward the pubis and lift the pubis toward the navel. Narrow the hip points. Tighten the buttocks lightly.

Pull the shoulder blades against the back, pushing the side ribs forward. Lift through the top of the chest without pushing the front ribs forward. Ensure the backbend is even throughout the entire spine.

Hold the pose anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. On exhale, release back to the floor.