Reclaim valentines day for yourself…
It is often said that you need to love yourself before you can love others. This means caring for yourself and yourself first. Because if you are happy and healthy you can then love your partner, your children and others.
So at this time of year you may be feeling the pressure to show love to someone, or to even have a partner. If you don’t have a partner treat yourself and don’t worry. Love will come to you at the right time and when you aren’t even looking. And if you do have a partner have a wonderful day.
Why do we feel the pressure to show our love on this particular day? Love is a verb, a doing word; in some way we should be showing love everyday.
This year be happy just to nurture and care for yourself and embrace yourself and consider what a wonderful human being you are!
Visit our Resources page to try our heart opening yoga podcast to open the heart centre and chest.
How To Open The Heart Centre • Anahata Chakra
When your heart is open you feel happier. You walk into a room standing tall, with confidence, with an open heart and mind. In contrast, if you have a closed heart you may not feel confident; you may walk into a room with rounded shoulders and with your head down.
So open heart yoga teaches us to stand tall, to open our hearts and lift our heads high. Soften the shoulders, open the chest and heart, open the throat and feel the shoulders and collar bones broaden and widen. Open heart yoga is also wonderful for improving your posture, especially if you are hunched over a desk all day.
As we know, forward bends are quietening, introverted and settling. Back bends are just the opposite – they are stimulating and exciting. Backbending asanas bolster a sense of openness, confidence, and bravery. They open the chest, abdominal organs and pelvic region; basically the whole front side of the body.
Back bands improve circulation along the spine, helping to relieve depression and other symptoms of feeling closed off. Ultimately they leave us feeling confident, refreshed and alive. But make sure you balance backbends with forward bends.
As you breathe into the chest and heart space take large breaths in. As you exhale soften the heart space. Try also holding the breath after the inhalation to feel expansion before exhaling softly.
Practice asanas such as cobra, upward facing dog, camel pose, locust pose, bow pose, inverted table, bridge pose and the wheel. A blocked heart chakra often means a blocked throat chakra, too, so focus on elongating your lower back, tuck your tummy in by squeezing naval in and up, while focusing on the stretch and opening in your upper back shoulder blades, throat and chest. Really let go and feel your heart centre and throat lift and open.
Open Heart Yoga works on your heart in two ways: 1) It makes your heart and body strong; and 2) It opens your heart to love others; And the first and second are closely connected; because if you love and are loved, you become healthier, happier and live longer.
Yoga to open the heart is designed to warm and loosen the inner wind channels, the nadis. Whenever prana flows freely within the central nadi, The Sushumna, we feel bright and happy.
The 2 channels either side of the Sushumna, the Ida and Pingala cross over the Sushumna at certain points including the heart. The winds that flow in the Ida and Pingala are connected with our negative emotions, anger, desire and selfishness.
Any time we think a negative or harmful thought it stirs up the winds in these side channels. The side channels, can get choked up and can form blockages at the cross over points; and then we can begin to feel nervous or unhappy. If we feel unhappy our physical health is also affected.
The most serious cross over point is the heart centre. That’s why when we feel stressed or angry our chest may hurt, or when we lose love our heart aches.
All the exercises of heart yoga are designed to unlock the heart area; opening up the heart to promote happiness and nourish the body.
Singing or chanting also has a very powerful effect on loosening the channels of the heart. The chant we sing is known as, “The Song of Loving Eyes,” or, “I sing the diamond in the rose,” “Om mani padme hum”. The rose represents our love for others, the love in our hearts. The diamond represents the strength and purity of love. We picture a diamond in the rose because it is said that on the day the knot in our hearts opens, there will be a clear crystal light reaching out from there; love flowing to every living creature in the entire universe.
Music and singing and the vibrations created by singing, “Om mani padme hum,” can have a great impact on us, so after the practice you should feel happy and strong.
The heart centre is associated with the colour green, the forth colour of the light spectrum and is the 4th chakra in the body; anahata chakra. So as you practice yoga and bring the breath in, try and visualize a strong, clear green light filling up your heart centre.
Breathe green – With each inhale imagine your heart centre expanding with a soft, green light and with every exhale feel your heart centre soften as you let go of negativity. Focus more energy on your positive green inhalation, than on your cleansing exhalation.
We focus tonight, in our yoga class, on the heart chakra. If you’d like to take a look at our other yoga podcasts then please click on the link below. We hope you will feel more open and happier after our classes.