A couple days late with the blog here. LIfe just got in the way in the form of a great weekend watching softball and using a hotel with bad wifi as a home base.... followed by coming home to the boys and being so happy to see them that I forgot to catch up here. Please forgive me..... ;)
In our trip through the chakras, this week would bring us right into our center to the heart chakra. We began with that one a few weeks ago. However, since last week marked the beginning of Autumn, I'd like to revisit this one from a different angle. For many of us, autumn brings to mind cozying in and connecting with the home. Kind of sounds like a good place to bring up the heart again, doesn't it?
So, to honor my favorite season, I am bringing you some poses that do two specific things: Open the Heart and Root to Rise.
Opening the heart by bringing it forward relieves the tightness that comes with hunching over a desk or a steering wheel. It helps to alleviate STRESS in our bodies......and relieving it at the emotional center of our being - our heart space - can feel liberating.
"Root to Rise" is a yoga term. It communicates the idea of using a solid foundation from which to find balance and lightness in the pose. (A great metaphor for life too, I think.) So think about pushing into the earth equally with both feet AND distributing your weight equally throughout each foot. Do this while keeping your pelvis neutral (not tipped) and placing it at your center (not pitching forward or backward toward one leg). I know, it sounds confusing, but if you try it now, with the poses below, I think it'll make sense. You'll develop a wonderful lightness and lift to your poses too.
Without further ado.......Heart Openers to honor Autumn
Open Hearted Warrior : One of my all time favorites, this pose opens the chest area and the throat. Begin in Warrior One and bring arms behind with fingers interlaced. Inhale long spine. Exhale head back as balance permits and lift arms away from the body. 3-5 deep and fluid breaths here.
Humble Warrior: This one is another absolute favorite. Moving into it is a gentle balance test, and it just feels really good for me along my lower back and hamstrings in addition to the heart opening. Full body relief. From Warrior One, inhale long spine. On the exhale, slowly fold the upper body forward (Keep pushing into the ground with both feet for the Root to Rise!) Allow your upper body to come to the inside of the forward leg without collapsing onto it. Raise your arms behind you, and let your neck go. Breathe 3-5 breaths.
Next..... On the next inhale, push into both feet a lot and keep your pelvis centered as you slowly raise your upper body. Let go of your interlaced fingers and return to Warrior One. Go through a basic vinyasa* and repeat these two poses on the other side.
One More -----
Hand to Big Toe Halfway Lift: Fold forward (legs straight(ish) and knees soft, belly towards thighs). Take hold of your big toes with your peace fingers. Exhale fully to fold forward. On the inhale, lift your upper body and look forward. As you do, gently pull up on your big toes and bring your heart forward. Take a few full breaths and release on an exhale to a gentle forward fold.
I hope you like these, and I'd love your feedback on these or questions about the poses. So, ask away or tell me what you'd like to see! I hope you are enjoying the start of autumn weather this week!
*Basic Vinyasa - Your choice.....either go to forward fold/plank/cobra/downward dog/step forward with opposite foot to go to Warrior 1.........Or bring your hands to the ground/halfway lift/forward fold/upward salute rising with flat back/forward fold/step back opposite foot to go to Warrior 1. You can take a look here for a sample of the basic vinyasa too.
leaf image courtesy pixabay.com
yoga photos credit: Aidan Hawkins (future National Geographic photographer)