yoga posture for loveBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

Many students and teachers love the practice of Yoga because of the happiness, love and well-being that it generates. However, there is a process of releasing and unfurling that must happen in order to continue to increase and expand the love within our own hearts. Many of us carry “undigested” experiences of sadness, love and scarcity in the region of the Heart Chakra. In order to truly feel the divine love that pulsates at the core of the heart, these negative emotions and experiences must be compassionately released and the love rekindled on a daily basis.

One of the primary ways to increase the feeling of love pulsating in our own beings is to release the muscular constriction and energetic holding that accumulates in the front and the back of the Heart Chakra. Backbending Yoga postures are very effective at releasing this tension and circulating energy throughout the entire region of the heart. Anahata Asana or Heart Asana, is a wonderfully accessible backbending Yoga posture that deeply opens up the front of the Heart Chakra. It also elongates the torso and increases flexibility throughout the shoulders, neck and arms.

* Anahata Asana

You may wish to practice Anahata Asana as part of the warm-up portion of your Yoga practice, or in conjunction with Cobra Pose and Downward Facing Dog. It is a great posture for resetting the spine in correct alignment and relieving stress and tension all throughout the front of the torso. If you only have 5 minutes to practice Yoga today, Anahata or Heart Asana is a wonderful posture to practice as a stand-alone pose. It will immediately help you to release and unravel some of the stress of the day that you may be carrying.

To begin the practice of Anahata Asana, come to a kneeling position on your Yoga mat. Fully extend your arms in front of you on your mat with your palms flat on the mat and your arms in a straight line with your shoulders. With an exhale, slowly sink your heart towards the mat. This will increase the stretch throughout the front of your torso. To further increase the intensity of the pose, you may wish to cup your hands on the Yoga mat. This action will increase your ability to extend fully into the posture.

Hold your drishti or gaze at a point on your Yoga mat between your hands. If you have any neck issues, you may wish to keep your gaze on a point just in front of your face. This gazing point will help to prevent exacerbating an existing neck injury by keeping the neck in direct alignment with the rest of the spine. As the heart area begins to soften and release, pent up emotions, images, undigested experiences, and other memories may arise in your field of consciousness.

If this happens, remember to allow the images to float by like a soft, fluffy cloud on a warm summer afternoon. Do not hang onto the emotion or image, simply let it arise in your awareness and move through and past you. By engaging in Yogic breathing exercises while practicing asanas, your ability to allow thoughts, emotions and images to arise and dissipate naturally will become more fluid.

Ujjayi or Ocean Sounding Breath is a very rhythmic and deep breathing technique that can help to deepen your inhale and exhale more fully. Often when we are stressed or upset about an interaction, the first thing to be negatively affected is our breathing. Stress tends to induce shallow breathing and a partial exhale. This is a process that keeps the heart constricted. By practicing Ujjayi Pranayama during your asana session, you will invigorate and relax your entire body.

In this way, as you keep breathing and practicing Yoga poses that are targeted towards relieving tension and muscular holding in front of the heart and in the thoracic region behind the heart, the energy of your own heart will begin to soften and expand. With this expansion, your energy and sense of well-being will increase.

This is a taste of the state of bliss that is embodied by the great saints and sages that have walked the earth before us. By regularly practicing Yoga poses and pranayama exercises that open and expand the heart, the divine state of independent joy and radiant love will continue to blossom in your own being.

© Copyright 2014 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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