As parents we spend hours folded around our children, hugging, scooping, holding.  As a result the muscles in our back can stretch and lengthen and our chest contracts. This is also the posture of fear and it can lead to feelings of heaviness and anxiety as well as love and protection.

Here is a chest and heart opener to strengthen the upper back and stretch the muscles in the front of the upper body and increase the emotions of courage and trust. It only takes a minute.

Wide angle forward bend with yoga mudra:

Stand with legs in a wide stance with toes pointed slightly in–5 pointed star. Lengthen the spine, draw the front pelvic bone up towards the belly button, reach your hands behind you to clasp. Squeeze the shoulder blades together on the inhale and relax on the exhale, repeat 5 times. Slowly fold from the hips until your heart is higher than your head (a good place for a parent to be sometimes). Allow your jaw to relax and your head to hang. Take 4 slow deep breaths and slowly rise back up to standing. When you are standing let go of your hands and let them float back to your sides. Stand in tadassana for a moment, breathe and notice how you feel. You can add these words of self-blessing to your practice, “may I be open, may I be strong, may I trust myself”.