Chest Opening Yogasanas
you are trying to give up
and nicotine consumption there is no doubt that chest opening
exercises can go a long way to support your effort. Besides, opening the
chest helps to tone the spine and increase the
breathing capacity of the lungs. It relieves tightness in the
shoulders. By lifting your heart, moving your shoulders back and lengthening
the front and back of your body, you decrease back pain and shoulder tightness,
and improve your spirits.
The World Health Organization (WHO) notes that “about 22 percent of
women in developed countries and 9 percent of women in developing countries
Chest openers provide extra help for women, according to Sadhana Yoga,
including regulating menstrual flow, relieving cramps and preventing
of the uterus.
Depending on your level of fitness, you can harness yoga asanas like the
cobra, locust, wheel, bow, bridge etc in order to achieve results. A pose called
mountain brook can calm the anxiety often experienced when nicotine cravings
arise. Supported with
Meditation chest openers can help those trying to overcome smoking.
Note: As you perform these poses, relax your neck and shoulders, and
focus on opening and relaxing your chest. Also, breathe deeply and feel the
connection to your lungs. It is best to learn proper alignment of yoga poses
from an experienced instructor.
Bhujangasana (the Cobra)
Lie straight on your stomach, keeping the palms on the floor below
the shoulder blades and the elbows touching the middle part of the body.
Bend the head and neck backward.
Inhale and raise the head and chest, above the naval area, upwards.
Tighten the legs allover from the waist down to the toes.
Hold your breathe and retain in the same position for about 6
Exhale and simultaneously lower the head towards the floor. Relax your
body and rest with your right or left cheek on the floor for about 6
Exhale and simultaneously lower the head towards the floor. Relax
your body and rest with your right or left cheek on the floor for about
Take prone lying position, legs together, hands straight by the side of
the thighs, chin resting on the ground.
Fold the legs at the knees and bring them on the thighs. Knees must
Bring your hands backward and hold the toes of respective legs from the
thumb and forefinger of the respective hands.
Raise your legs a little up and simultaneously raise your head and
Holding the toes, pull the legs towards ears and bring the toes near the
ear. Gaze in front.
While returning to this original position, loosen your hands, take legs
backward, let the thighs touch the ground, leave the toes and ultimately
bring the legs and hand to the first position.
- Do not try to bring the toes near ears forcefully if it is difficult.
- Gradually increase the practice.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
Come to lie on the back. Bend the knees, bringing the soles of the
feet parallel on the mat close to the buttocks. Lift the
hips up towards the ceiling. Interlace the fingers behind your back
and straighten the arms, pressing them down into the mat.
Roll one shoulder under and then the other. Lift the hips higher.
Draw the chest toward the chin, but do not move the chin toward the
chest. Make sure the feet stay parallel.
Release the hands and bring the upper, middle, and then lower back
down. Rest, allowing the knees to knock together.
Beginners: For a restorative variation, bring a block under
the sacrum. Let your weight rest on the block. When coming down, keep
the hands interlaced under the weight of the body for a shoulder opener.
Ustraasna (the Camel)
Come up onto your knees. Take padding under your knees if they are sensitive.
Draw your hands up the side of your body as you start to open your chest. Reach
your hands back one at a time to grasp your heels.
Bring your hips forward so that they are over your knees. Let your head come
back, opening your throat.
Beginners: Curl your toes under and come to the balls of your feet if you
cannot reach your heels when the feet are flat, or use blocks on either side of
Shalabhasana (the Locust)
Lie on the stomach with the head turned to one side and the arms alongside
the body with palms facing upward.
Turn the head and place your chin on the floor. Slide your hands under your
thighs, with the palms pressed gently against the top of your thighs.
Inhale slowly and then raise the head, chest, and legs off the floor as high
as possible. Tilt your head as far back as possible. Keep your feet, knees,
and thighs pressed together.
Starting at the top of the head and working your way down to the feet, bring
your attention to each part of your body, consciously relaxing it before
proceeding on to the next.
Remain in the posture while holding the breath. You can support your legs by
pressing the hands upward against your thighs.
Hold the posture for as long as you can hold the inhaled breath then slowly
return the legs, chest, and head to the floor while exhaling.
Remove your hands from under your thighs and place the arms alongside your
body. Turn your head to the side and rest.
Hold this posture for as long as you can hold the inhaled breath. Repeat the
shalabha-asana three times.
Pranayama & Chest Opening
When we breathe, we use primary and secondary muscles groups. The primary
muscles are the
abs, diaphragm and intercostal muscles (the muscles in between your ribs).
The second group includes the scalenes, sternocleidomastoid, and the pectoralis
minor. According to
Workshop in Review: Pranayama and Chest Opening asanas helpful for deep
breathing " Utkatasana opens the front ribs and allows the diaphragm to
lift. Practicing half
Downward Facing Dog at the wall can bring awareness into the back side of
Trikonasana opens your sides, and Ardha
Chandrasana allows you to be open and free, just the way your breath should
be! We also practiced Ustrasana to open the entire front side of the body."
One simple exercise you can do at home is sandbag breathing. Use a five and
ten pound sandbags, but a bag of rice or beans can work just as well. While
lying on your back, rest the bag between the bottom ribs and navel (basically
right under your chest). Try to receive the weight of the bag instead of pushing
against it. Take a few minutes of deep breathing like this, then remove the bag.
Continue to breathe deeply and notice the differences!
Dated 17 February 2014