February 2016: Loving Heart Openers
Start the month with Loving yourself right!
I believe in truly being able to love anyone in any kind of relationships, is to start loving yourself good as a starting point.
How have you been loving yourself? Do you have more negative thoughts about yourself or positive ones? Do you get so hard on yourself with the crazy expectations and then get angry with yourself when things don’t go to what you expected?
Whatever is going on, is to have Self-acceptance of what your reality is. When we are able to be in a receptive mindset to Accept, we will be able to move along in being loving to ourselves, thus finding more ease and grace within our struggles. It is really easier said then done. We all have our own struggles and limitations to overcome but once we have cultivated this within ourselves, it can bring about powerful transformation.
These Heart openers postures surely will ignite some lovingness to yourself and your practice, which will then translate to the people and experience around you.
Heart openers are essentially back bends, that focuses on opening from the thoracic spine, just behind the heart! These will leave you feeling liberated, energised and having the posture of the heart ready for receiving greatness and lovingness.
Be sure to be creating space throughout the length of the spine. The lumbar spine is usually more flexible then the thoracic area so be sure to strengthen this area.
Practise a few rounds of Cat-cow to warm the spine up before attempting the poses listed below.
Camel Pose (Ustrasana)
Benefits: Strengthens back muscles. Opens chest, shoulders, quads . Alleviates fatigue, anxiety, respiratory ailments. Energizing and mood lifting.
Contraindications: High/low blood pressure, serious back injuries, migraines
- Both knees on the ground, hip width apart, Hands on the hips.
- Engage the quadriceps and bring hips forward, internally rotating the hips, drawing thighs to the centre.
- Inhale and bring tailbone rooted towards the ground, creating space in the lumbar spine area and lift the ribcage out.
- Look up towards the ceiling and keep neck engaged.
- One arm at the time, swing it to the back ,catching on to each heel ( tucked toes for easier reach).
- Once both hands catches on toes, keep engaging hips forward, extend front side and breathe deeply for 5-8 breaths. Extend one arm out to the back for a deeper challenge.
- Slowly come back up with both hands on hips/lower back for support.
- Rest in Child pose for a few breaths.
Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)
Practice a few rounds of Bridge pose before attempting this.
Benefits: Open and stretches chests and lungs. Strengthens shoulders, wrists, arms, back ,leg and buttock muscles. Alleviates depression, back pain, respiratory ailments. Increases energy and mood lifting.
Contraindication: Back injuries, wrists injuries, High/Low blood pressure, heart problems
- Lie down on the back with both knees up, feet firmly on the ground hip width apart, keep heels as close to the sitting bones as possible.
- Bend the elbows and bring both palms face down to the sides of the ears beside the head.
- With inner feet firmly planted on the ground and palms down, lift hips up and gently bring crown of head to the floor, being mindfully to spread weight more towards palms and feet while staying lifted in the mid torso .Stay here for 5 breaths.
- To move along to the full pose, gently press up all the way to wheel pose. Straighten arms , and turn inner thighs inwards. Take 5-8 breaths.
- Slowly make your way down and gently bring both knees to chest and hug knees to chest for a counter pose and take child pose for a few deep breaths.
Regular practice will enable you to reap the benefits of the various poses in the long term.Stay focused, disciplined and be consistent in a loving manner!
I wish you all a Prosperous, Abundant and Happy Monkey year ahead and much more Love and Goodness in your life!