Chest-opening lying stretch

This pose opens the chest, allowing breath to deepen, while allowing the yogi to centre and align the spine.

  • Roll a blanket into a sausage shape.
  • Lie down on top of the lift so that it runs along the bottom edge of the shoulder blades. To check that it is positioned correctly, check that.
    1. The chest is lifted up towards the ceiling and up towards your head.
    2. That there is no ache in the lower back (too low).
    3. That your shoulders are not in contact with the lift (too high).
    4. If you have a head cold, headache, neck tightness or hyper tension in your shoulders, dizziness, or if you are on your first or second day of menstrual cycle, place a block or evenly folded blanket under your head.
  • Keep legs together and stretch arms over the head with arms straight (hold elbows if shoulders your are stiff)
  • Keep the belly taught throughout, so a connection between pubis and chest is felt as the ribs are pulled upwards by the blanket roll.
  • Do not allow the legs to fall outwards
  • Allow the shoulders and chest to open as you breathe, still focusing on relaxing at the end of the out breath. Let the in breaths come in freely, allowing any natural deepening while keeping passive in the brain.

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Quotes

Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.' Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them.

— The Buddha