Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Lead With Your Heart

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“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:
Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Lead With Your Heart”

Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Can You Accept Yourself?

“Contentment comes as the infallible result of great acceptances, great humilities–of not trying to make ourselves this or that, but of surrendering ourselves to the fullness of life–of letting life flow through us.”  -David Grayson

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This is an opportune time of year to consider contentment. Many people acquire things like beauty, fame or riches because they believe it will make them happy or content, especially around the holidays. But contentment can never be purchased. It cannot be accomplished by changing your hair color, getting cosmetic surgery or capturing that perfect Instagram. True contentment (or santosha as it is called in Sanskrit) is attained through altruism. It is felt in times of love and compassion. It appears when you eliminate superficialness, selfishness, and greed.

So, how can we incorporate contentment into our asana practice? Continue reading “Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Can You Accept Yourself?”

YOLY Challenge #19: Turn On Your Heart Light

heart-1616504__180After skipping a week for the first time since beginning this blog, I admit I feel slightly freer. Not guilty like I thought I would. But happy that I can drive this caravan when and where I’d like to. Within limits – I don’t want to get stuck in the desert from whence I may never return. What I’m trying to say is it feels good to honor myself and make the choice to do what brings me joy.

Accordingly, this week we will lead with our hearts as we return to our Monday challenge. Through the anahata chakra we will energize our love of self and others by opening our hearts and letting our brilliance shine.

Here are some heart-warming poses to ignite your flame. Begin today’s practice with the first pose and add-on a new pose from the list each day. That way by Saturday you are doing the whole group of postures.

  1. Bhujanasana (Cobra) or Sphinx
  2. Supported Matsyasana (Fish)
  3. Virahbadrasana I (Warrior I)
  4. Parsvottanasana (Pyramid)
  5. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge)
  6. Ustrasana (Camel) – put blocks or a chair behind you for support.

As always, use your judgement and proceed within your comfort zone.