If I had to choose one kind of yoga pose to do every single day, it would be a heart opener pose. You’ve probably heard yoga instructors throw around the term “heart opener” but let us understand first what does that really mean?
Heart opening is really a less-intimidating term for a back-bend. Back-bending can sound scary at first. But the truth is, they come in all different forms, shapes, and intensities. Depending on you, a camel pose or cobra pose might be a back-bend for you. Back-bends have multiple benefits, from countering our daily slouch to re-energizing the body! When you practice these poses, you get the chance to stretch out areas where many of us often hold tension (upper back, shoulders, chest). We hold our tension here for various of reasons, but one of the reasons is emotional stress.
Ever feel a tightness in your chest in the midst of a heartache? Or have you felt your shoulders creep up to your ears during times of stress? The psychological connection is very real, and in yoga is usually referred to through the chakras. The sense of well-being that comes after doing a heart opener largely has to do with prana (life force – life expansion) once again being able to flow through the heart chakra with ease. Once you’ve opened up through back-bending, it’s likely you’ll be able to breathe more deeply, find emotional release, and move with a little more ease.
1.Open Your Heart!
Literally, back-bends open your heart space and may trigger emotional reactions. If you notice, some people that are closed off emotionally often look closed off physically. An open chest and an open heart is a vulnerable place to be and one we don’t do lightly. By incorporating back-bends into your routine, you are allowing energy to flow in ways it probably usually doesn’t. It’s OK, that’s part of the work. Take it slow and feel the feelings and keep finding ways to open. Back-bends will lower your anxiety and stress. They will also help you improve posture.
2.Energize the body!
Back-bends are energizing! When you move through a back-bend, it’s common to get a bit of an adrenaline rush. Your nervous system lights up when the spine begins to move in a way that it’s not used to and it invigorates your whole body! Try a back-bend next time you’re feeling low, moody, or just plain tired. It might just change your whole day. Back-bends will increase your body’s oxygen levels with diaphragmatic breathing.
3.Nourish your spine!
In our fast-paced world, it can be hard not to slouch! With computers at our fingertips and steering wheels to droop over, we need to counter the all-too-easy postural deviations that pop up in life. Stretch out your abs and improve mobility and flexibility in the spine. A back-bending practice not only dramatically counters habitual forward rounding for a brief moment, but its feel-good effects will make you WANT to carry this feeling of openness into your daily life.
Give your spine some love with a back-bend of your choice!