Heart-Opening Yoga Poses
While Valentine’s Day is a time we celebrate our love with others, it’s equally important to nurture the loving connection you have with yourself. In yoga philosophy, the heart chakra is associated with compassion, love, and connection. Your heart plays a vital role in your overall health and wellbeing and has a variety of functions, including delivering oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, and regulating blood pressure. Your heart consists of an electrical system that keeps it pumping, which is why it’s critical to take care of your heart and implement lifestyle changes for a healthy heart. Let love into your heart with these heart-opening yoga poses.
Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
Fish pose is a relaxing, heart-opening pose and gentle backbend that helps to stretch the thoracic region. This pose can be practiced with or without props. When props like blocks or a small bolster are integrated, it allows the body to fully relax the muscles. Some benefits of practicing the Supported Fish pose include stretching the intercostal muscles between the ribs and the muscles and fascia of the chest, shoulders, abdominals and neck. Fish pose can also help to improve posture and flexibility in the spine, acting as a counterbalance to the posture held when rounding or hunching over.
*Avoid this pose if you have a neck injury or a history of neck or lower back issues or suffer from glaucoma or untreated high blood pressure.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Cobra pose is a heart-opening backbend that provides an opening of the chest and stretch in the shoulders. You can adjust the intensity of the backbend by straightening or bending your elbows, depending on what your body needs. Cobra pose can also help fight fatigue and relieve lower back pain.
Puppy Pose (Uttana shishosana)
Puppy pose is a heart-opener that helps open the chest, and loosen the shoulders and back muscles. By opening the chest, this pose can help increase lung capacity and enhance blood circulation.
Upward-Facing Dog Pose (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Upward-Facing Dog is a heart-opening pose that helps open the chest and shoulders, while also strengthening the arms and legs. It’s important to be mindful of your breath during this pose, so you can reach the full expression of this energy-boosting backbend.