If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you’ve probably heard the phrase “open your heart” or heard a pose referred to as a “heart opener”. These poses are great for you physically and emotionally. They are also a great reminder to open your heart to the world.
Have you noticed that many people today walk around with hunched shoulders? When you see someone very shy or insecure, you can tell right away because of how they kind of curl into themselves by rolling their shoulders over and almost guarding their heart. That’s our body’s defense mechanism. We want to protect ourselves emotionally, especially in uncomfortable situations, so we physically close off our heart space to the world around us.
Practicing heart openers can help counter that pose physically by pulling back the shoulder muscles and strengthening the back muscles so that you have better posture. They also stretch your chest muscles, abdomen, and other muscles in the front of the body that have gotten used to being shortened and are likely tight. When your body is in alignment and your front body isn’t drawn together, you will look taller, slimmer, and more confident.
Confidence is a huge benefit of heart openers. Often these poses are used to help heal people emotionally and allow a person to embrace the world instead of hiding from it. If drawing into yourself is a sign of insecurity then opening up the chest space counters that. By opening up, you area telling yourself that you are important and have something to offer. That you welcome what is coming and won’t hide from it. While it may sound silly, it does kind of make sense, right?
Camel pose (shown above) is an obvious heart opener and probably one of the more vulnerable poses in the heart series. When you are in a full camel, you are completely open to what is happening around you and allowing yourself to relax into it. While this is a more difficult pose, there are many more that you can do to start out your heart-opening journey.
If you want to try camel pose, you’ll probably want to try it on a mat or carpet. Sometimes it can put pressure on your knees. Then follow these steps:
Although we focused on camel pose today, there are so many other heart openers out there. You can start small with poses like cobra, bridge, lunge with arms clasped behind you, or cow pose. Or, you could try more advanced poses like wheel or king pigeon.
When you think of heart openers, think about poses that open up your chest to receive what the world is giving you. Allow yourself to receive and grow. As we stretch out our front chest muscles and work on pulling our shoulders back, we not only exhibit confidence, but we also allow ourselves to accept confidence.