A time for heart openers, yours & mine

The last few weeks have been an emotional hurricane, as my family lost someone very near and dear to us. During this turbulent time, I felt hurricane-like forces were spinning me in circles. And during this time, yoga was the only thing that made it stop, at least temporarily. That gave me some grounding and perspective to help process. The recurring theme for my practice was heart opening. It’s quite fitting that I wrote my latest yoga tutorial for Athleta on this topic, and it definitely, beyond a doubt, came from the heart.

It’s February, when a case of the mid-winter blahs may be causing your shoulders to sag. It’s also Valentine’s, when we might ponder the state of our heart. So it’s a good time for some heart opening yoga, and making these poses part of our regular practice all year long can help keep our shoulders from rounding forward and our hearts from closing to the blessings in our lives.

Gravity works against good posture, causing that shoulder slump. Think about hours spent over your computer or the steering wheel. We also have an emotional tendency to round forward to protect our heart vs. open it, especially if we are feeling scared or vulnerable. Heart openers can be intense and bring about release, often in the form of unexpected tears. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are protecting ourselves so fiercely. So although they can help keep you honest about what you are feeling, you don’t want them to leave you feeling raw either. I found that practicing supported heart opening poses gave me just what I needed – heart support.
Think of heart openers as an emotional cleanse. Get rid of what is not serving you and open your heart to your blessings. It’s my 2014 Valentine to you. Namaste.