Heart-Opening Yoga for Unconditional Love
** If you are unable to view the video above, you can watch it directly on YouTube here.
It’s already Day 4 of the Yoga Basics Challenge! Welcome back, I hope you are ready for something a little different today.
The last three days were focused on many foundational teachings to understand the heart of the yoga practice intimately.
Today we move on to look at a yoga flow that seeks to open up our entire front body, particularly our hearts, and allow us to energize our souls and release some serious tension in our shoulders and chest.
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Benefits of Heart Openers
On a physiological level, heart-opening yoga poses expand your chest, rib cage and shoulders that improve our postures, especially beneficial for those of us who spend long periods sitting in the office. Whether you are suffering from rounded shoulders or back pain, you can counteract these issues with heart openers.
From an energetic perspective, heart-opening yoga poses activate the heart chakra and support a healthy and open heart. Holding on to negative thought patterns and beliefs can manifest itself in diseases of the physical body. By addressing emotional blockages, especially those of the heart, we make ourselves more open and allow ourselves to better give and receive love.
Heart Opening Poses
There are many types of heart openers, many of which are also back-bending poses. When back-bending for the purpose of opening the heart, we focus on bending from the middle and upper parts of the spine instead of the lower back.
Because the middle and upper spine tends to be less flexible, some heart-opening poses may be challenging to perform in the beginning. So please go through this class with the understanding if a pose is not available to you today, you should not force yourself to get into it. Rather, take time to keep coming back to the mat – consistent practice will pay itself off one day.
Don’t believe me? I was unable to do a standing backbend without dumping into my lower back until 3 years of almost daily practice).
Key Poses in Today’s Class
The poses we do in this class will progress from the easy heart openers which almost anyone can perform if you have a healthy back, to full backbends (which is easy for some but really difficult for others).
- Seated Cat-Cow: Heart openers do not necessarily have to be deep backbends. Seated Cow is a great example.
- Tiger Pose: Some balance is needed here, so activate your core to keep your mid-body stable
- Three-legged Dog variation: This one opens the hips too; double whammy!
- Flip-Dog or Wild Thing Pose: An all-time favourite for activating the heart chakra and simply feeling good
- Lizard variation: Another combined hip-and-heart-opening pose
- Camel Pose: Try to take it easy on this one if you are a beginner and do the supported version. Otherwise, challenge yourself with the full version or just go without your hands!
- Mermaid Pose: This one takes practice. Try to give yourself time to practise the pose and come back to this video if you are unable to do it today.
- Bridge Pose or Wheel Pose: A stronger back-bend that will go so far to strengthen your shoulders and upper body.
Let’s get practising
Alright, that is enough talking. Let’s now grab our mats and get on with our practice!
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The YogaMad is founded by Mila, an avid yogini who is passionate about inspiring others to live their best lives while finding mind-body-soul balance. She has a background in business consulting but has left the corporate world in her quest to live out her dreams as a yoga nomad.