Thursday is the day I’ve dedicated to heart opening. It also happens to be a day when I’m particularly pressed for time. So a quick prop-based exercise to open up the front of the chest and shoulders.
Why do this?
In the energy body, the heart center is where the more physical chakras of the lower body meet the more metaphysical chakras of the upper body. On a more muscular level, if you spent a lot of time in front of a desk or computer or steering wheel or bicycle handles, that creates a situation where the muscles across the front of the shoulders and chest are collapsed and constricted for maybe several hours a day. Stretching them out can’t hurt. Even if, you know, it sort of hurts.**
** If it does hurt, I’d encourage you to feel it out slowly and to pay attention to both the quantity and quality of pain you’re experiencing. In terms of quantity, there’s being at your edge, and there’s going over it. Don’t go over it; stretching less and not tearing something is better than stretching more and potentially injuring oneself.
In terms of quality, muscle stretching pain usually feels broad and opening — and it tends to become less intense as muscles get warmer and looser. Pain that feels like pinching or stabbing or that doesn’t subside over time is more probably related to bone structure. It’s likely a sign to modify your expression of the pose (holding your arms narrower or wider or adjusting your range of motion) in order to fit your body.