Yoga Haven, NJ©
These are in my opinion when practiced daily fix the issues from hunching over all day long!
Do you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, long hours at a time in front of the computer, or sit in a car for long periods of time? If so, you've probably noticed that your spine typically rounds forward and your chest sinks. The chest caves inward wreaking havoc on the spine and back.
Good News! You can begin to reverse that physical pattern by creating new movement imprints with two simple Yoga Poses.
The first one is called Apanasana. Apana means vital force moving outward. Apanasana is sanskrit for Hurricane or Knees to Chest pose. Practicing Apanasana is a gentle way to restore balance to caving chest & restore proper flow and function to the organs of your torso. As you release excess pressure from your digestive organs and low back, your mind will begin to release its pressures and tensions, as well.
How to Do Apanasana
Lie on your back, with your legs and arms extended.
As you exhale, draw both of your knees to your chest. Wrap your arms around them or set one hand on each knee.
Keep your back flat on the mat. Release your shoulder blades down toward your waist. Broaden across your collar bones.
Draw your tailbone and sacrum down toward the mat, lengthening your spine even more.
If it is comfortable for you to do so, softly rock backward and forward or side-to-side for a gentle spinal massage.
Tuck your chin slightly and gaze down the center line of your body.
Hold for up to one minute. Keep your breath smooth and even.
With an exhalation, release and extend both legs along the floor and rest. Repeat up to six times.
Benefits of Apanasana
Stretches and stabilizes the pelvis and low back and can reduce lower back pain.
Reduces excessive anger, excitement, anxiety and high blood pressure.
Helps with sciatic nerve impingement, spinal stenosis, and disc herniation.
Clasping the knee or shin can be problematic for people with knee problems. One alternative is to clasp the hamstring of the bent leg instead.
Practice Apanasana first thing in the morning and before going to bed. Hold for 1-2 minutes on each side. It’s a simple way to encourage your body, mind, and spirit to remain clear and balanced throughout your day.
Another pose to reverse caving chest is Fish pose, Matsyasana. A traditional yoga pose, it expands the chest and throat. Most of us spend so much time hunched over a keyboard, chances are can't overdo fish pose. In non-supported Fish pose, the neck is placed in extreme extension as you bend the neck back and place the top of the head on the floor. it can be difficult for most people to do it safely. Extreme extension of the neck, coupled with pressure on the the cervical spine, often causes dizziness or nausea.
The supported version carries none of these risks. In fact, it’s a favorite with my students, a much needed release for caving chest and shoulders. Supported Fish expands the chest and can relieve neck and shoulder tension.
For the supported version use two foam blocks, one across mid back and one supporting back of head and neck.
How to do Matsyasana
Begin lying on your back with your legs extended and toes pointed towards floor.
Lift your hips and tuck your hands slightly beneath your buttocks (thumb and pointer fingers), palms facing down.
Tuck your forearms and elbows in toward your body as close as possible without strain.
On an inhale, bend your elbows and press firmly into your forearms and elbows to lift your head and upper body away from the floor and begin to find the natural curve of your spine.
Squeeze your shoulderblades into your back and lift your chest higher toward the sky, elongating your spine.
Gently release the crown of your head (or the back of your head, if the crown doesn’t feel available to you) back down on the floor, placing a minimal amount of weight on your head. To alleviate weight in the neck, point your toes to the floor firmly.
Remain here or, if it feels uncomfortable, cross your legs or bend knees and bring feet to floor.
Stay in the pose anywhere from 5 to 10 deep breaths. To come out of the pose, engage your core, press firmly into your forearms, and gently lift your head away from the floor. Tuck your chin into your chest and place the back of your head down.
Benefits of Matsyasana
It refreshes and restores caving chest after heavy deskwork.
Good for diabetes, asthma, cold, cough etc.
Moods, emotions and stress are regulated. If practice with cross-legged pose, it prevents loss of prana through the lower limbs.
The muscles in back and neck are strengthened.
It stimulates the organ in abdomen and throat.
Matsyasana relieves the body's thoracic and mid back spinal tension.
Aids in stretching the intercostal muscles between the ribs (and we know how challenging that it is to do).
Also stretches the upper portion of psoas in the hips.
On regular practice, it can improve posture as well.
People with heart problem, peptic ulcer, hernia, severe back condition also pregnant women should not attempt for the practice.
Add these two simple poses into your weekly routine to begin reversing the effects of concave chest. Namaste~
This week marks the four year anniversary of the opening of Yoga Haven. A place I call a nest of bliss on the mountain. Yoga Haven is tucked away in mountainous Oakland, NJ. The spot not ideal for a business that needs foot traffic, but the ideal spot to practice yoga. As I write this, it's unbelievable how quickly four years has flown by!
Pranayama means "breath control" . Pranayama is the control and directing of the breath. The breath gives us prana. Prana is energy and its our life force. Through a regular practice of yoga poses and pranayama exercises the life force, "prana" is vitalized.