“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” – Rumi
A set of heart-opening poses may be the very most important piece of the yoga asana puzzle. Here are three reasons to lead with your heart:
#1: Emotional and Physical Revival – Psychologically, backbends can teach you receptivity, acceptance, compassion, and determination. Physically, backbends correct our tendency to hunch. Especially in this era of increased computer and cell phone usage, our “tech necks” and upper backs are in dire need of lengthening.
#2: Beat Bone Loss – The act of spinal extension or back bending can help to prevent or slow down the effects of osteoporosis or bone loss. Gentle back bends such as Salabasana (locust pose) or supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (bridge pose) were included in a long-term study of osteoporosis reversal (click here for details).
#3: Energizing – Back bends bring energy into our subtle heart centers. The heart or anahata chakra stimulates our love for self and others and permits our brilliance to shine. Often times in class following a back bend, I can feel my students’ positive energy level come alive.
Here are some heart-warming poses to ignite your flame. Try to incorporate one of these essential back bending postures into your yoga practice each day:
- Supported Matsyasana (Fish) – small blanket roll under upper back
- Virahbadrasana I (Warrior I)
- Bhujanasana (Cobra) or Sphinx
- Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge) – rest sacrum on low block
- Ustrasana (Camel) – put blocks or a chair behind you for support
As always, use your judgement and proceed within your comfort zone.
Once the heart pathway is made clear and energy is permitted to flow freely, you become a more passionate person. After your spark is ignited, you will find it easier to instill the qualities of harmony, peace and love in others. Remember, deep within, we are all inherently seeking love.
Love is all you need, love cures all, love is the answer. 💜
Thanks to Yoga Journal and Yoga Journal International for photos.<