by Jenn Bodnar | July 16, 2020 10:13 pm
You’re only as young as your spine is flexible! This practice is great for improving posture and physical tension in the shoulders and chest but is just as beneficial for increasing the heart’s energetic and emotional capacity. Studies show that the heart and mind are connected, so if you’re feeling closed off and isolated or quick to react, some heart-opening work might be just what you need. If you would like to feel more accepting, compassionate, loving, and grateful try the three heart-opening yoga poses below.
Before getting started, it’s important to take a moment and allow any tension or stress to soften. You can begin seated, lying down, or in any position that best serves you to become present, grounded, and relaxed. Try to allow three minutes per pose with steady, rhythmic inhales and exhales in and out of your nose. An added challenge to heighten sensation: close your eyes!
1) Melting Heart
Start in a hands and knees position. Walk your hands up over your head as your heart melts down towards your mat. You can rest your chin or forehead on the mat or a block. Another modification is to place a blanket or pillow beneath your chest for support. This pose increases shoulder mobility and counteracts rounding in the thoracic spine.
From your belly, place your elbows out in front of you. You can start with the elbows under the shoulders and adjust further away if needed. Your head can either extend from your spine naturally, look slightly up, or even drop with the chin to the chest. Allow your palms to rest naturally on your mat. For more intensity, about halfway through, turn your hands out toward the corners of your mat, press your elbows up off of the mat into Seal Pose. The same variations with your head placement can be applied here as in Sphynx Pose. This pose strengthens the spine and lengthens the abdomen. It stimulates the lungs and opens the chest.
3) Supported Fish
You will need a yoga block, pillow, or blanket for this pose. Place your prop under your shoulder blades and relax down into your mat. To modify you can add support beneath your head. Fish pose helps to relieve tension in the neck, throat, and shoulders.
Having an open heart can help ease your overactive mind, try this practice the next time you’re feeling stressed or quick to anger. Click here for more insight on opening your heart and why it matters.
Photo credit: John Doty, Inmotion Imagery
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