Chest Opener

Definition - What does Chest Opener mean?

A chest opener refers to any yoga posture which includes a backbend or a stretch of the chest. They work to stretch and lengthen the muscles of the chest, torso and front of the shoulders. They also serve to strengthen the back muscles. Chest openers are excellent for counteracting the effects of prolonged hours sitting at a desk or working on a computer.

The term, chest opener, is also sometimes used to refer specifically to a reclined asana where a yoga bolster is placed along the length of the spine and the arms are opened out to the side. This restorative asana is gentle and therapeutic by nature. It takes the upper back into an extension and releases the front of the shoulders while keeping the spine supported. It is ideal for counteracting a slumped posture.

Yogapedia explains Chest Opener

Chest openers are associated with the anahata (heart) chakra. The physical opening of the chest helps encourage compassion and connection to others. Examples of chest-opening asanas include camel pose, bow pose and wheel pose.

Chest openers have a wide range of physical and energetic health benefits, including:

  • Decreased back pain and shoulder tightness
  • Lengthened spine
  • Improved posture
  • Increased lung capacity
  • Stimulated pituitary, thyroid and pineal glands
  • Activated heart chakra
  • Improved mood
  • Decreased feelings of loneliness and depression

A well-balanced yoga sequence will include some kind of chest opener. Some classes may even make chest opening a theme for the session.

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