Gratitude Practice: Heart Opening Asanas
Michelle loves yoga for the positive benefits that the mind, body, and spirit receives. Through practicing the physical asanas (poses) of yoga we are able to actively open the heart by using our bodies to create more space for gratitude to flow in and out.
Here are a few of Michelle’s favorite yoga asanas that open the heart and cultivate gratitude. Practice the following asanas to become more receptive to the grace and beauty of a thankful heart:
Upward-Facing Dog Pose
- Lie face down on the floor, legs out long behind you, with the tops of the feet pressing down. Palms face down directly under the shoulders, elbows pinned at your sides.
- Inhale, press through the hands to straighten out your arms while lifting the upper body and legs up off of the floor. Press down through the hands and tops of the feet to actively use the muscles in the legs and arms.
- Push down through your shoulders, bringing the shoulder blades toward each other to in turn open up the chest and heart.
- Tuck your tailbone, pull your tummy muscles back toward your spine and gaze up to the sky.
- Raise to all fours, sit back to the heels, and lower your upper body down into Child’s pose. Rest here for a few breaths.
- Kneel on the floor, knees hip distance. Tuck your tailbone, tighten your bum and firm up the upper legs.
- Place your hands on the back of the pelvis, palms resting on the bum. Press the hips forward to line them up over your knees. Inhale and lift the heart, draw your shoulder blades toward each other and under the back ribs.
- Lean back into the firmness of the tailbone and bum. To move deeper into Camel pose, hold the alignment of your body and reach for the heels with your hands either one at a time (beginners) or simultaneously (intermediate to advanced). To make the reach easier, you can tuck your toes to raise the heels.
- Gaze upward, making sure to keep your neck in a neutral position. Hold for a few breaths, pressing down through your shoulders let your heart open, bends of your elbows facing forward, palms on your heels and fingers pointing down toward your toes.
- Raise back up by first placing your hands to the back of the pelvis, Inhale and raise the head first, then slowly come up. Rest in Child’s pose once more.
Wild Thing (simple variation)
- Start from seated with knees bent and feet planted hip distance.
- Place your hands behind you, shoulder width apart, wrists aligned slightly back from your shoulders, fingers pointing behind you.
- Straighten your right leg out slightly wide and press down through the left foot and both hands.
- Inhale, lift the hips up and arch through your upper back.
- Distribute your weight evenly between the left foot and right hand, remove your left hand from the floor and place it over your heart, push the hips up even higher and press down through the right shoulder and hand. Hold for a few breaths.
- Slowly return to your first seated position and make your way into Child’s pose for a few breaths.
- Make sure to practice Wild Thing on the opposite side as well.
Come practice these powerful heart opening asanas at the next AromaYoga Workshop.
More info here…
If you’re unable to attend this month’s workshop, try another one of Michelle’s Yoga classes.
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