“Arms stretched out behind you, grasp your hands behind your back…lift your gaze and open the heart” The yoga instructor gently continues to remind us to round the shoulders down and back throughout the class. We are practicing heart openers.
I love yoga for many reasons: the chance to intentionally practice deep and full breathing, the chance to move slowly and deliberately, the chance to sit and lie in silence, and the chance to do chest and heart openers.
Heart Openers on the Mat
Every time we do a heart opener, I am so grateful. Not only does it feel wonderful physically, but it reminds me to open my heart in other areas off the mat. While doing a heart opener, I marvel at why it feels so refreshing to me.
I realize that throughout the day and week my shoulders must incrementally be hunching up and forward – walking in the cold, in front of computer screens, in hard conversations at work or home. Unconsciously I am tensing ever so slightly and closing myself off to protect myself from being inundated and hurt. I only come to realize it when I’m in a position that counteracts that instinct to curl up and protect myself.
Heart Openers Off the Mat
I was thinking of heart openers in light of Lent and Valentine’s Day – two calendar events that encourage the expression of love to God and love to people. I know, without having to examine myself deeply, that my heart has been closed off to people and God in various ways. Incrementally I’ve been guarding myself, barely noticing the hunching of “my shoulders”.How are you hunching your shoulders? How can you practice heart openers off the mat? #yoga #heartopener Click To Tweet
My husband and I usually try to avoid going out on Valentine’s Day because it’s overmarketed and restaurants are over crowded. However, I’ve been reading blog posts lately on showing love to your husband and felt convicted. There are so many ways I could open my heart towards my husband in daily actions and words.
Lent is sometimes a time when people abstain from something, remembering the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert resisting the temptations of Satan. What if we resisted the temptation to close ourselves off from God and one another? What if we risked being vulnerable and opened our hearts to one another and God in a new way?What if this Lent and Valentine's Day, we resisted the temptation to close ourselves off from God and one another? #yoga #heartopeners Click To Tweet
What if we practiced opening our hearts off the mat? How would that change us and the people we come in contact with?
Linking up to these awesome parties.
This is a great reminder. And now you’ve made me want to try yoga!
Yay! You should Abby – as a busy mama and teacher, I’m sure it would be really restoring.
alexandra @ my urban family says
I love the idea of using Valentine’s Day to remember to open your heart!
Yes! It’s the perfect time to remember isn’t it, Alexandra?
Crystal // Dreams, etc. says
The first thing that I thought when I saw the picture at the beginning of this post was, “that looks like it would feel good!” And I loved everything you said in the post. Sharing on Facebook later today.
Thank you Crystal! It does feel good – try it at home with a yoga mat or blanket rolled up supporting your head and spine.
I love heart openers too 🙂 I have a yoga video that’s really helped me with them! For Valentine’s this year we’re going to breakfast with our baby and then on a hike!
That sounds like a wonderful Valentines Bethany – enjoy the day!
Kim M says
I need to get into yoga. I think it would be perfect for me and my anxiety! Do you have a favorite video? Something good for beginners?
Hi Kim! Yoga is so wonderful – especially for the deep breathing, which we all need to remember to do throughout the day. I really like Rodney Yee’s videos and also Yoga with Adrienne on Youtube. She is funny as well as a good teacher!Let me know how you like her if you try it.
I think yoga is such a great way to relax you and open up your heart
I agree Nicole!
Life Loving says
Some good thoughts here. Just because you know it in your heart, it doesn’t mean that someone else does. Say it out loud and tell people how you feel. It’s nice to hear.
And as an aside, I love pilates, good for opening up the muscles!
Sally @ Life Loving
Hi Sally, thank you for stopping by. I really like Pilates too! I do the blogilates videos on YouTube and love them!
Physically I have been hunching over the computer far too much and I can feel how tight my upper body is. And I like your metaphor too, definitely food for thought this Lent. Saw you on Merry Monday
Thank you Audrey! Yes – computers are guilty of making us hunch in and crouch! Thanks for reading and commenting!
Angela @marathonsandmotivation.com says
This is great! I made a goal to start incorporating yoga back into my workouts, this is a good start…stumbled this post 🙂
Yoga has been so restorative for my body and soul Angela. You’ll probably find it especially so with your long runs!