Chest Opening Yoga Poses

Chest-opening yoga poses, also known as heart-opening poses, are a group of yoga asanas that stretch and expand the chest, shoulders, and front body. These poses help to improve posture, increase lung capacity, and relieve tension in the chest and shoulders. They are also believed to stimulate the heart chakra, promoting feelings of openness, compassion, and emotional release. Here are some common chest-opening yoga poses:

Dancer Pose II
Dancer Pose II
Natarajasana II
Upward Facing Wide-Angle Seated Pose (Urdhva Upavistha Konasana)
Upward Facing Wide-Angle Seated Pose
Urdhva Upavistha Konasana
Revolved Dancer Pose - Parivrtta Natarajasana
Revolved Dancer Pose
Parivrtta Natarajasana
One Legged Dolphin Pose
One Legged Dolphin Pose
Eka Pada Makarasana
Reclined Tortoise Pose
Reclined Tortoise Pose
Supta Kurmasana
Hero Cow Face Pose arms opposite arm - YanvaYoga
Hero Cow Face Pose arms
Virasana Gomukhasana
Revolved Table Top Pose One Hand Raised - YanvaYoga
Revolved Table Top Pose One Hand Raised
Parivrtta Bharmanasana Urdhva Eka Hasta
Seated Cat Cow Pose
Seated Cat Cow Pose
Lotus in Cobra Pose
Lotus in Cobra Pose
Padma Bhujangasana

Chest Opening Yoga Poses Classification By Body Position

We can classify chest-opening yoga poses according to the practitioner’s body position into the following categories:

  • Prone Chest Opening Poses: In these poses, the practitioner lies on their belly, and the chest is lifted off the ground.

Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
Sphinx Pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
Locust Pose (Salabhasana)
Bow Pose (Dhanurasana)

  • Supine Chest Opening Poses: In these poses, the practitioner lies on their back, and the chest is lifted towards the sky.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)
Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)
Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
Seated Chest Opening Poses: In these poses, the practitioner is seated on the mat, and the chest is opened while maintaining an upright posture.

  • Seated Heart Opener

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)
Seated Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

  • Standing Chest Opening Poses: In these poses, the practitioner is in a standing position, and the chest is expanded while the body is upright.

Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)
Reverse Warrior (Viparita Virabhadrasana)

  • Kneeling Chest Opening Poses: In these poses, the practitioner is on their knees or kneeling position, and the chest is opened.

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

  • Inversions: In these poses, the practitioner’s body is inverted or upside down, and the chest opens in an inverted manner.

Shoulder Stand (Salamba Sarvangasana)
Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana)

  • Restorative Chest Opening Poses: In these poses, the practitioner uses props to support the body, allowing for a gentle opening of the chest and relaxation.

Supported Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Supported Fish Pose (Matsyasana Variation with props)
Supported Reclining Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana with props)
Supported Child’s Pose (Balasana with props)

By classifying chest-opening yoga poses based on the practitioner’s body position, it becomes easier to create yoga sequences that flow smoothly and provide a balanced practice, incorporating different types of poses for a comprehensive chest-opening experience. Remember to practice these poses mindfully, listen to your body, and consider seeking guidance from a qualified yoga instructor if you are new to these postures or have specific health concerns.

Benefits and Contraindications


Improve lung capacity and better breathing patterns.

Relief from tension and tightness in the chest, shoulders, and upper back.

Enhance circulation and blood flow to the heart and lungs.

Increase flexibility and mobility in the chest and shoulder region.

Energetic benefits, such as an expanded heart center and a sense of openness.


Neck or Spinal Injuries

Shoulder Issues

High Blood Pressure


Recent Abdominal Surgery


Psychological Concerns

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do i cry when i do chest opening yoga poses?
Crying during chest opening yoga poses is not uncommon, and it can be a natural emotional response for some individuals. Several reasons could explain this phenomenon: Emotional Release: The chest is a vulnerable and emotionally charged area of the body. Chest opening poses can create a physical and energetic space in this region, which may trigger the release of pent-up emotions, such as sadness, grief, or even joy. Stored Tension: The chest, shoulders, and upper back are common areas where people tend to store tension and stress. As you open these areas during yoga practice, it can release physical and emotional tension, leading to an emotional release. Heart Chakra Activation: In yoga philosophy, the heart chakra (Anahata) is associated with love, compassion, and forgiveness. Chest opening poses can stimulate and activate this chakra, leading to a heightened emotional state. Mind-Body Connection: Yoga encourages a deep mind-body connection. During chest opening poses, you may become more aware of underlying emotional experiences that have been suppressed or ignored. Energetic Release: According to some yogic traditions, specific poses can activate and move prana (life force energy) in the body. This flow of energy can impact emotions and lead to emotional release. Past Trauma: For some individuals, certain chest opening poses may trigger memories of past experiences, trauma, or loss, leading to tears as a form of emotional processing. Opening the Heart: Chest opening poses are often associated with expanding the heart space, which can make individuals more receptive to their emotions and vulnerabilities. It's important to remember that crying during yoga practice is not a sign of weakness but a sign of emotional healing and release. Emotions are a natural part of the human experience, and yoga can be a powerful tool for processing and accepting them. If you find yourself crying during chest opening poses, try to be gentle with yourself and allow the emotions to flow without judgment. Take deep breaths and practice self-compassion. If you feel overwhelmed, consider talking to a trusted friend, therapist, or yoga instructor who can provide support and guidance through your emotional journey. Yoga can be a powerful tool for emotional healing, but it's essential to create a safe and supportive space for yourself as you navigate these feelings.

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