In honor of Valentine’s Day, I am dedicating my C2 class this week to Love and the Heart Chakra. I don’t care if it sounds corny, as I believe that any opportunity to celebrate love and compassion are all good.
Since January, I have been focusing on a different chakra each week, moving up the body from the 1st. Each week’s class includes poses that are meant to open, stimulate, and allow us to focus on the energy of that chakra, with music and intentions to match. As you start to release physical tension and open up certain body parts, different feelings are stimulated and evoked.
The 4th or Heart Chakra, Anahata, is located in the center of the chest, corresponding to the thymus gland. This location naturally is connected with the heart and lungs, and just as our own culture associates the heart with love, so did ancient yogis. (http://loveyogaanatomy.com/opening-the-heart/) Thus, the 4th Chakra is primarily concerned with love, in the unconditional sense, and compassion for all beings. Not quite the romantic love that is usually associated with Valentines Day, but close enough ^v^
“Each time we breathe deeply, the lungs massage and give the heart a hug” – From Body-Mind Centering
Breathing deeply, releasing tension in the chest and shoulders, has the effect of warming and calming the heart, thus releasing fear.
Imagine a person with hunched shoulders and a collapsed chest. This kind of physical posture, so prevalent in our modern work world, is not open, strong, nor confident. People with hunched shoulders tend to be less confident in expressing their mind, act in a shy manner, and do not welcome others easily, usually out of fear. A hunched posture has even been connected with depression by experienced therapists (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/spycatcher/201205/what-the-shoulders-say-about-us).
It’s really a vicious mind-body cycle, where a low energy emotional state, like depression, lends itself to a type of posture, and that very posture makes you feel worse. With depression and low energy often comes fear, as people feel lonely and thus afraid. It’s a fear of being emotionally open, of sharing one’s love, of letting people in.
On the other hand, open chests, relaxed shoulders, and good shoulder posture are physical cues associated with confidence, a welcoming attitude, and a willingness to connect with others. (https://www.fastcompany.com/3041688/body-week/the-surprising-and-powerful-links-between-posture-and-mood)
In the past, I too experienced these emotional fears. Scars from past relationships, being rejected by my partner, caused me to close up and lose confidence. Through yoga and the awareness that comes with deep practice, I started to open up, express love, and allow myself to be vulnerable. Loving another person deeply is in fact an act of vulnerability – being honest with strong emotions leaves you open to get hurt. But also open for so much more joy and passion.
“Being vulnerable is the only way to allow your hear to feel true pleasure” – Bob Marley
This week’s class was designed to open the shoulders and chest, and make you feel that vulnerability in challenging poses, as well as the deep joy in yummy poses from the release of shoulder and neck tension. If this in some way resonates with you, join me for a class at Corepower Yoga!!
With love and light,