Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Open your heart

This gentle heart-center opener will help you get rid of that hunched feeling you get after sitting all day.

Setting up for the pose:
The only prop you need for this pose is a therapeutic spinal strip. If you don't have one of these, you can use a swim noodle, a tightly rolled thin mat, or a tightly rolled towel. You might also need a folded blanket for under your head.

Coming into the pose:
Sit in front of your therapeutic spinal strip (swim noodle/rolled mat/rolled towel) and then lay down on it at about the bottom of the shoulder blades. You can experiment with what feels the best to you. If your head is tipped way back or you feel unsupported in the neck, place a folded blanket under the head and neck - not so thick that your head tips forward. Your head should be level with the body or slightly tipped back.

While in the pose:
Send your arms out to the sides, palms up to encourage the heart center to open. Keep breathing, keep observing the pose in your body, and allow the body to open at its own rate. Commit to the stillness but do allow yourself to adjust your props and your body as you settle deeper in. I like to lay with my knees bent but some of my students prefer to have their legs straight. See what feels right in your body.

Coming out of the pose:
To come out, bend the knees, roll to one side, pull the spinal strip out from underneath you, and then lay back down on your back. (Or lift up the hips to bridge pose to pull the Spinal strip out from under you.) Take a few sacrum circles or a full body stretch. A nice follow-up pose is a Supported Reclining Twist.