How to Do Chest Exercises in Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga targets the whole of the body and makes it stronger and healthier. For those who are interested in toning a specific anatomical part of the body, there are asanas that can help you do that too. The following article deals with the postures that will help you open your chest and diaphragm

Exercises for the Chest

Not all asanas of hatha yoga are suitable for beginners. If you are looking for some exercises to tone your chest, you need to be careful on which one you start with. Given below is a list of postures classified according the difficulty level – beginners, intermediate and advanced

  • Beginners
      • Bridge Pose
      • Supine Spinal Twist
      • Cat-Cow Stretch
      • Warrior Pose
      • Cobra Pose
      • Side Plank Variations
      • Triangle Pose
  • Intermediate
      • Bow Pose
      • Reverse Warrior Pose
      • Camel Pose
      • Side Plank Pose
      • Extended Side Angle Variations
      • Fish Pose
      • Upward Facing Dog
      • Half Moon Pose
      • King Dancer Pose
      • Locust Pose
  • Advanced
      • One Legged King Pigeon Pose
      • Wheel Pose

Let’s look at few of these postures in more detail

The Bow Pose

Also known as ‘dhanurasana’, the bow pose improves the flexibility of the spine and stretches the quadriceps, chest and abdominal muscles. You begin by lying on your stomach. For greater comfort, you can keep a blanket under your hips for padded support. Bend both your knees and bring the heels close to your buttock. With both your arms, reach back and take hold of your ankles. Inhale slowly and lift your torso and knees off the floor.

If you are at an advanced level, you can try to hold on to opposite ankles. Another variation of this exercise is you can let go off your leg, but not bring them back to the floor. Maintaining this ‘floating posture’ will help you build some strength and endurance.

The Bridge Pose

The Bridge Pose, or the Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, is also popularly known as the half wheel pose. Apart from opening the chest, it also improves the flexibility of the spine and stimulates the thyroid glands.

This posture is done on the floor and you start by lying on your back, with your knees bent and feet together. The soles of your feet will be close to your buttocks. Slowly, with the palms by your side, you lift your hips towards the ceiling. Clasp your hands behind the back and long your fingers together. Your arms and shoulder blade will remain straight. When coming out of the pose, release your hands and lower your hip back to the floor.

The Camel Pose

This is yet another hatha yoga asana that stretches the chest along with the quadriceps and the abdomen.

Begin this asana by coming up onto your knees. If the floor is hard, or you have sensitive knees, you can place mat or padding under them. With your hands by your side, you open out your chest and reach back with your hands to hold your heels. Arch your back, tilt your head as far back as possible and thrust your abs forward. Hold the position and breathe gently. Return slowly to the kneeling position.


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