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Are you feeling tight in the neck, shoulders or chest? Do you tend to hold stress in these areas? Read on for three easy yoga postures you can do anytime to open your heart chakra, improve your posture and your running form which ultimately means less injury and a faster pace!
Are you feeling tight in the neck, shoulders or chest? Do you tend to hold stress in these areas?
Read on for three easy yoga postures you can do anytime to open your heart chakra, improve your posture and your running form.
The questions above might seem unrelated, but they’re not. The chest and shoulders are part of the 4th chakra, known as Anahata. When we can achieve and maintain flexibility and openness in our physical body, this translates to flexibility and openness in our lives and our relationships.
By performing a physical practice with yoga postures, or asana, you can open your heart to yourself and those around you.
From a purely physical standpoint, these postures will help you prevent injury, improve your running efficiency and therefore reduce your risk for injury and allow you to increase your running speed!!
Anahata is the 4th chakra, located at the heart center or center of the chest. When open, you will feel a sense of love, joy and compassion surrounding you. It is the chakra that pertains to the heart, lungs, chest, shoulders, arms and hands.
If we can open our hearts to all that is available to us, life becomes so much softer, sweeter and whole.
Opening your heart can take time and practice, as with anything that you want to get better at. Begin with the physical practice, the asana, and allow it to develop deeper into an emotional and spiritual practice.
If this chakra is blocked, you may experience physical tightness in the areas of the body that this chakra governs: the chest/heart, shoulders, arms and hands. You may find yourself slouching or rounding in on yourself.
Physical disorders you may experience include heart or lung conditions, like high or low blood pressure, poor circulation or breathing difficulties like asthma.
Emotionally, you may experience feelings of unworthiness, difficulty trusting others, or develop co-dependent or manipulative behaviors.
It can be hard to allow ourselves to be vulnerable sometimes, especially if we have been hurt before. It can be difficult to trust and accept at times, especially if we have been mistreated or have had our trust broken.
Sometimes it feels like it might be easier to remain closed from others and the world. But in all honesty, keeping up that “wall” of protection also takes time, effort and energy. Why not use that energy more positively to try to be more open? The reward and the payoff will be worth it, I promise!
If we are closed to giving of ourselves, then we are closed to receiving from others as well. Remaining closed prevents us from developing deep, loving and meaningful relationships in our lives. In short, in remaining closed, we miss out on all the good stuff!
There are many yoga postures that you can do to help unlock or open your anahata chakra and improve your posture. So the ones included here are by no means exhaustive. Three easy yoga postures to open your heart are outlined below. These are great for those at any level of yoga experience, from beginner to more advanced.
If you are finding it to be difficult to open your heart to someone or something, begin this with the intention of a purely physical practice. Once you become comfortable with the asana, take it deeper: focus on the breath and focus your intentions on your desired outcomes or relationships. You are performing the yoga, but there is an element of allowing the yoga to lead you as well.
Practice this heart opening sequence regularly and begin to notice any changes taking place. With only three postures, this practice should be able to fit into even the busiest of schedules. If you’re really short on time, just pick one or two postures–you’ll still get many benefits even from a shortened practice.
Stand with feet together, big toes touching. Root your feet strongly into the earth.
Take a deep breath in, clasp your hands behind your back. On the exhale, lift your hands away from your body, opening your chest and shoulders.
For more of a stretch, gently tip the head back, opening the throat center and deepening the stretch in the chest.
Breathe here deeply for a few breaths before releasing the posture.
From Tadasana, shift your weight onto the left foot. Take a large step back with your right, angling the toes out slightly and keeping the back heel in line with the front heel.
Inhale and raise the arms out to the side up to shoulder height. Exhale and turn palms facing up toward the sky. Notice how this creates a stretch in the biceps and shoulders and increases space in the heart center.
Breathe here deeply for a few breaths before releasing the posture and repeating on the other side.
Come into a high kneeling position, toes tucked under. Take a deep breath in and raise the arms up overhead. On the exhale, release one arm back, grabbing onto your heel, then release the other arm back to the other heel. Notice the stretch in the chest and shoulders.
Please note that if you are feeling tight, you can perform Half Camel on each side by releasing one hand to the heel and keeping the other arm extended overhead.
On the other hand, if you are wanting more of a stretch, while holding your heels, untuck your toes and gently drop the head back.
Breathe into the space, opening your heart to all that is, and all that you want to bring to fruition in your life and relationships.
When you feel complete, gently release the posture, coming out in the reverse of which you entered.
Close your practice by coming into a comfortable seated position, either cross legged or in kneeling.
Bring the hands to heart center in Anjali Mudra, prayer position. Notice the beat of your heart and the energy you have created or released.
Stay here as long as it feels comfortable before ending your practice and mindfully resuming your day.
Working on opening your neck, chest and shoulders will not only help for the reasons mentioned above, but it will help you have better static and dynamic posture. Meaning better posture when you're sitting, standing, walking and running. And better posture translates to better running form and improved efficiency of running. And this ultimately means, you can run faster and prevent injury!
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