For Westerners the chest muscles are often some of the tightest muscles as is evident by our poor posture, rounded shoulders and slouched spine. Here is a pose break down that can be put in any routine to open the heart and lungs.
Let’s do this
From Mountain pose (see related post FOUNDATIONAL POSE #2), reaching our palms toward one another behind our bodies. Actively press into the air as if we have a beach ball between our hands. Staying here, we are working on building strength. For the Stretch let’s interlace our fingers. We can keep our hand close to the base of the spine and press out away from the body. For a different sensation, we have the option to bend our knees and slowly hinging from our hips into a bent-knee forward fold. Our bellies are resting on the upper thighs. Raising our hands towards the sky with our shoulders down and back, we hold.
Options for disk injury or sciatic: Remain standing with knees slightly bent. If unable to clasp your fingers together, you can use a strap or a towel. And remember - never do anything that is painful!
According to LIVESTRONG stretching the chest helps you recover from a workout, eases soreness and improves your posture.
Poor posture compromises your breathing as it's hard to fully fill up your lungs when they're compressed. This may make it more difficult for you to yell (in emergency situations of course... We all know that we never just yell at others for nothing... When does school start again???)
Seriously though, poor posture can lead to aches, pains, stressfulness, and a myriad of other problems.
Compromising our breathing is an entirely different blog that you can eagerly read found in the related post: Just Breathe.
While this blog breaks down the standing version of the chest expansion, you can add a chest expansion into other postures to gain all these amazing benefits. As always listen to your body and enjoy.