3 Heart Opening Yoga Poses

Opening the chest and expanding the breath are gentle ways to move energy through our heart space. Utilizing chest openers and backbends, we can strengthen the chest, lungs, diaphragm, ribs, heart and respiratory system while releasing the tension that we hold in our heart from past wounds and experiences. Stretching and opening the chest is a practice of gentle surrender that creates spaciousness - room to be with yourself, room to tap into your wisdom, room to remember the truth of who you are.

With every breath, feel your interior expand and your resistance to soften. Open wider in the heart space and be with whatever arises. This is a wonderful opportunity to practice Jihi, compassion, with yourself and the range of emotions that might be released. Breathe through them and practice radical acceptance for all that you are - messy, beautiful, powerful, wise - and innately divine.

Posture #1: Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana)

Posture 1: Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana)

This backbend is a simple but powerful pose that awakens upper body strength and provides a wonderful stretch for the chest and abdomen.

While you’re practicing this posture, remember to:

  • Keep your shoulders down and relaxed, away from your ears
  • Draw your shoulder blades toward one another and down the back
  • Keep your chest open, if it feels uncomfortable deep breathe and surrender more. Allow yourself to feel and be with whatever arises
  • Press into the hands to lift body up, don’t collapse your wrists
  • Head can come back softly
  • Keep your knees off the mat, gently lift your legs by pressing the top of your feet into the mat
Make it Magic ✨

With every inhale, fill in with the energy of joy. With every exhale, practice mindful surrender. Softening into the heart space is an exercise in vulnerability and surrender. Breathe into it and be with whatever arises.

Posture #2: Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Posture #2: Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

This super heart-opener opens both the 4th and 5th chakra, releasing emotions and opening the communication channels. This pose creates spaciousness in the chest and lungs, stimulates the kidneys to improve digestion, and deeply energizes the body.

If you are new to camel pose, visit Yoga Journal for a detailed step-by-step of how to move into the pose. Before trying bow pose, be sure to stretch the back thoroughly and move gently into it.

While you’re practicing this posture, remember to:

  • Take the pose slowly, only moving as deeply as you can without pain
  • Draw your tailbone forward while pressing the fronts of your thighs back
  • Don’t strain your neck - keep your neck extended and your gaze soft
  • Be with whatever arises. Camel is an emotionally moving and energizing pose, keep your thoughts and breath with the present moment.
Make it Magic ✨

With every inhale, fill in with the energy of ease. As you deepen your bend, practice allowing energies (comfortable or uncomfortable) to surface, and breathe them out with your exhale. Softening into the heart space is an exercise in vulnerability and surrender. Breathe into it and be with whatever arises.

Posture #3: Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

Posture #3: Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

This backbend strengthens your back and opens your shoulder and chest while stimulating digestion and energy flow in your internal organs.

Bow pose is an intermediate yoga pose. If you are new to this pose, visit Yoga Journal for a detailed step-by-step of how to move into the pose. Before trying bow pose, be sure to stretch the back thoroughly and move gently into it.

While you’re practicing this posture, remember to:

  • Grab your ankles rather than your feet
  • Keep your knees hip-width apart
  • Don’t release the pose until you’ve lowered your head, chest, thighs and feet
Make it Magic ✨

With every inhale, fill in with the energy of wellness. With every exhale, practice releasing push and effort. Softening into the heart space is an exercise in vulnerability and surrender. Breathe into it and be with whatever arises.