chest opener poses


Day 7 Pose of 10-Day Warrior Heart Collective Online: TWISTING LUNGE

What can transform a yoga pose into your favorite, go-to pose is the magic of a Forrest Yoga assist from a teacher/assistant while you're in the pose and having an AHA moment. Such was the case for me in TWISTING LUNGE. I didn't realize how much my body could luxuriate in this pose, not powering into the twist or laser-focusing on opening shoulders, but rather feeling opening in my upper chest/sternum and low ribs. The assistant was behind my back and coached me to lean back into her to roll my chest more open to the sky; that stable contact of her to the back of my heart was the secret sauce that I think of every time I do the pose or give the assist to a student. How you can feel relaxed and supported/held while encouraging opening.


Using the strength of the bottom "hooked" arm against the thigh, I lengthen bottom ear away from shoulder and "grow" my spine with each inhale (esp those lower ribs facing the floor), and unfurling my upper chest towards the sun with each exhale. I love doing this pose in the morning - sometimes my chest is so tight that this pose "cracks" it open, ahhhhhh.

Click image for video of Twisting Lunge

Click image for video of Twisting Lunge


Day 6 Pose of 10-Day Warrior Heart Collective Online: BIRD WING

When I took class last summer with Forrest Yoga Guardian Erica Mather I picked up this mash up of BIRD WING with SHOULDER SHRUGS and have been doing this variation ever since. The bottom tips of shoulder blades are sometimes difficult to feel and move, especially for beginners, so this combo gets "2 birds with one pose". Keeping elbows close to side ribs is KEY, and also helpful to sit deeper in your Warrior 2 pose as the forearms extend out at the end of the exhale.

click image for video

click image for video

#warriorheartcollective #birdwingshouldershrugs  #iloveforrestyoga #rhomboidlove

Day 5 Pose: LOW COBRA

Day 5 Pose of 10-day Warrior Heart Collective online: LOW COBRA

How many times have you taken a Vinyasa Flow class (i.e. a non Forrest Yoga influenced flow, that is) and done a ton of sun salutations without hearing any cueing for cobra? So many shoulder joints are unhappy and straining in most cases.

What I find helpful to cue new students into Low Cobra is a tip I picked up from @ericamather - start on belly in sphinx pose with forearms on floor (like in dolphin pose), elbows under shoulders. Press down through hands, reach back with legs & lift elbows and heart up off of floor. Having hands forward of shoulders is less strain on wrists while simultaneously tractioning them as long as shoulder blades continue to wrap towards armpits.

Click this image for a video demo of Low Cobra

Click this image for a video demo of Low Cobra

Day 1 Pose of Warrior Heart Collective

Day 1 Pose of the Day for 10-Day Warrior Heart Collective Online:

I find that when I wake up in the morning I crave this pose to get the sleep kinks out of my upper back. Also when I need a break from my jewelry bench work (i.e. hunching over LEGO bricks with my drill), this is my GO TO pose. 2 minutes and I'm good, my posture is reset. Anyone who has an arm and a wall can do this pose (you don't need to be a yogi), another reason to love it!

I have limited empty wall space in my condo, so I like this mod of finding a wall edge to hold onto as I get more into my lunge and really hold on to the wall edge I can feel more release in the pec on that side of chest.

Lately I've been starting my FY All Levels 6pm classes with this pose after wrist stretches and before we sit down to set intent - not only does it feel great for the midback, sternum and neck after spending the day hunched over desks or workbenches, it forces you to ground right away and calm down the zingy energy that may be bouncing around in you (or from around you) at the end of the day.

If this pose sounds juicy to you and you want to TRY IT FOR YOURSELF, watch this video tutorial by the amazing Lisa Day: