Yoga Block Chest Opener
Yoga is an old practice that originated in India. It is a mental, spiritual and physical discipline that combines breathing techniques, meditation, and different poses. The complexity of the progression in yoga differs on the skill set and level of the practitioner. There is a lot of recorded Asana or yoga posture. And in the most recent years, the practice of yoga has become more popular and a variety of tools are being used to enhance the yoga experience.
One of the common yoga tools used is the yoga block. The block can be made of foam, cork, wood, or bamboo. It can be used as a support of the body part like the hips, the head, or the back. It can also be used as an extension of the arms. The yoga block supports our body for stretches and holding our yoga poses.
Chest openers are one of the favorites of yoga enthusiasts and are considered as the most satisfying part of yoga. A chest opener is a yoga pose that has backbends and stretching of the chest outwards. It is a restorative reclined asana that involves gentle poses. Opening of the chest also symbolizes the opening of the heart since the heart chakra or Anahata chakra can be found in the center of the chest. This allows a person to open their hearts and connect to others with compassion. Chest openers are now made easy with the use of yoga blocks to support the body while the chest is being stretched and expanded outwards.
Chest Openers Using Yoga Blocks
1. Child’s Pose (Variation)
How to do it:
Place the blocks on the floor with the shoulder-distance. Keep toes close together and knees hips-distance apart. Kneel with the blocks in front of your body the distance should be the same length as your upper body up to the top of your head. Rest each of the elbows on the blocks and lower hips so that the thigh and calf are touching. Fold elbows towards the neck while keeping it placed on top of the blocks. Put the palms together in a prayer position. Hold the position in 5 breaths. This pose can be deepened by extending the body forward and stretching the spine.
2. Plank Pose (Variation)
How to do it:
Place the blocks on the floor with shoulder-distance apart and place both hands on the top of each block. Stretch legs towards the back so that you are in a straight-arm plank. Transfer the body weight towards the toes and bend both elbows moving the shoulders closer towards the block. Remove hands from the blocks so that the chest is resting on it. Move arms towards the side of the body keeping it straight with palms towards the floor. Hold the pose for about 5 breaths and release to a Child’s Pose.
3. Dolphin Dips Pose
How to do it:
Place one block on the floor and position it in front of your body. Come into a Downward Dog pose. Place hands on the floor. Frame the sides of the block with the L-shape of the thumb and pointer finger. Put the upper part of the body into a lower position by folding the elbows into an angle. Lift the heels towards the ceiling. Let the forehead rest on the block and melt heart towards the legs. Repeat the steps for 10 cycles.
4. Double Block Lying Cactus
How to do it:
Using two blocks, place the first block on its lowest height to the support the back of your head and the second block on its medium height under the chest area. Lie down towards the floor and make sure that the blocks are placed properly to cushion the head and the rib cage area while the buttocks are directly seated on the floor. Open the legs and meet the soles of the feet, this should create a butterfly shape. Move both arms into a 90-degree angle with the palms facing the ceiling. Push the chest outward while stretching the back. Relax the chest muscles and hold the position for 10 breaths.
5. Fish Pose (Variation)
How to do it:
Using one block, place it in medium height position directly under the shoulder blades. Lie down on the block and shift weight towards it. Tilt the next and rest the top of the head on the floor, keeping the eyes towards the ceiling. Extend both arms sideways towards the torso and relax it on the floor. Keep the heels actively away from the body in a flexed position. Breathe slowly and deeply and hold the pose for about 1 to 5 minutes.
Benefits of Chest Openers
Chest openers help improve one’s posture. The modern life and profession of people tend to slump the upper body, closing in on the chest. Like people who work in an office stays seated in front of the computer the whole day. Over time, this kind of lifestyle will create poor posture. It also tends to restrict the lungs making it harder to expand when breathing. During chest opening, muscles in the body moves and stretch, it helps align and correct our spine.
Yoga, in general, is a good way to release stress, anger, and extreme emotions. It calms the mind and the body. Chest openers make it even better by expanding the upper part of the body, allowing better breathing and circulation of the blood and oxygen in the body.
Chest openers also help activate the heart chakra. This chakra is linked with a person’s feeling of love, affection, and compassion. An active chakra promotes the balance of one’s emotional and physical being, giving the power to heal and forgive feelings that hurt. The activated heart chakra is also responsible for building a connection to form bonds and relationships with other people.
Although chest openers have a lot of benefits, there are still a few reminders to keep in mind before doing the poses. Prevent doing these poses while in active back pain and physical injuries. Like any other yoga, these poses should be practiced and done with the guidance of trained yoga teachers or gurus.