Heart Opening Poses to Strengthen your Back
Think about how much time you spend hunched over your computer, a desk, your phone—it’s a fair amount right?! It can cause back pain, neck pain and when we’re doing that on a regular basis, it can affect our posture.
To counteract all the hunching, I love doing heart-opening poses to stretch out my chest and also strengthen my back. They feel so opening and energizing, like I can finally get a deep breathe of fresh air to the bottom of my lungs!
I also love that they work on strengthening those muscles around our spine. When you think about it, there’s not a lot of exercises that focus on that area of your back! This will help with posture! And, if you’re a mama who is constantly lifting your baby, you’ll be happy you have strong back muscles so you don’t strain while lifting!
This little yoga series doesn’t take long at all and could be done first thing in the morning or at night. These poses are meant to make you more receptive and free, so that’s why I love the idea of starting your day with them. They also feel good, so ending your day with them is a great stress-reliever too!
You can use a yoga mat if you want, but you really don’t need any equipment—just yourself!
1. Cow Pose
This is really a two-part pose that’s great for warming up your spine. Use your breathe to movement with this one. Breath in and pull your chest forward towards your arms, looking slightly up.
2. Cat Pose
And, now for the second part. Exhale and push your back to the sky, tucking your head down so that you’re looking at your thighs. As you warm up, feel free to add in any side to side movements that feel natural and help get your body warmed up.
3. Cobra Pose
This is a great stretch for your abs, chest and helps to strengthen your back. Lay on your stomach with your hands under your shoulders and push up slightly while keeping your arms bent. It’s a gentle stretch, so don’t overdo it by pushing your arms fully straight.
4. Bow Pose
Lay on your stomach and reach back for the outside edges of your feet and pull yourself into a bow. Keep your eyes looking slightly up and roll to the soft part of your belly. Continue to breathe while in this pose and then gently release.
5. Wild Thing Pose
This is easily one of my favorite poses. It feels so amazing and is an incredible stretch for your whole body.
The easiest way to get in this is by starting in downward facing dog and then flipping one leg over until you flip over and shine your heart to the sky and stretch your arm and leg out. Complete on one side, come back to downward dog and repeat on the other side.
6. Locust Pose
Lay on your stomach with your arms by your side and your palms facing down. Lift your chest and legs off the ground as high as you can and hold while breathing. Release and repeat once more. Try to keep your feet in line with your hips as well.
7. Wheel Pose
This is a huge heart opener, and if you’re not comfortable doing this, you can take a modified version, which I’ll describe in just a second.
For full wheel pose, lay on your back with your knees in, feet almost to your bum and hands by your ears. Push up with your feet and arms, stopping at your head if necessary. Push your stomach and chest out while keeping your knees and arms close together.
To release, gently bend your arms and knees until you come to the ground.
For the modified version, start on your back with your legs bent and feet almost to your bum and arms by your side. Push up through your legs, but keep your arms, shoulders and head on the ground. Push your chest and hips towards the sky.
To release, gently bend legs until you’re back on the ground.
8. Dancer Pose
Last, but not least, dancer’s pose. This is a beautiful pose and a great heart-opener and back-strengthener. Start standing upright. Bend one leg behind you and reach down to grab the inside of your foot or ankle with one hand.
Kick into your foot and lean slightly forward to create a standing bow shape. Keep your chest and eyes lifted and the other arm pointing forward.
Be careful to not let your hips open to the side. You want them to stay parallel. Breathe several times once in the position and then switch sides and repeat.
You definitely don’t have to be a yogi to do this at home and reap the benefits! It’s quick, easy and feels pretty amazing! Let me know if you try it out!