Supported Chest and HEART Opener

Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday. It is the only American Holiday set aside to give thanks for ALL our blessings.  While I am grateful for this Holiday, I think we should show (and feel) gratitude every day. There are several yoga poses that can aid us in this endeavor. While pretty much any heart opening pose or meditative pose will work, I want to concentrate on Supported Chest and Heart Opener.

cheast-opener

How

Grab blocks, bolsters, pillows, blankets and whatever helps you to relax. Begin in a seated position. Place a block on the mat directly below under your shoulder blades. Place a block (or several blocks depending on your own flexibility and comfort) and/or a thickly folded blanket under your head. You may like to elevate the top of the bolster (where your head is) with blocks for a slightly gentler variation. With your feet flat on the floor, bend your knees and slowly roll down onto the blocks and/or blanket using your hands and forearms to support you as you roll back. Rest your arms with palms facing up in a receptive and open state and slowly straighten your legs. Keep your arms extended alongside you or place a hand on your heart and one on your belly as you rest and breathe in this position.

Focus on breathing deeply through the diaphragm, allowing the breath to open your chest and heart for approximately 3 minutes. To transition out of this pose, slowly roll to the right and remove the props from the mat. Hug your knees to your chest for a few breaths, then make small circles by rolling your knees around – this should massage your lower back. Roll up to a seated position.

Variations

If you don’t have any of the props listed above, you can roll up a yoga mat or a towel and place it under your underarms. You can also try rolling a blanket into a long, narrow prop and putting it under your spine so it supports your back and head. This should allow your chest to gently open. The towel doesn’t have to be thick or bulky. The idea is to provide a small lift, which should give you some great results. More advanced practitioners may deepen the back bend by removing or re-positioning blocks into a lower level or letting the head go back past heart level.

Why

Just as you can practice a figurative heart opening in your thoughts and emotions, you can also experience opening the heart space in your physical body. When you feel threatened, be it by pain, a challenge, or pressure to perform, you usually hold your breath or start to breathe in shallow, erratic patterns. This can cause muscle tightness in your chest and can restrict the normal movement of the diaphragm. By practicing slow, gentle expansive breathing while in simple, pain-free positions such as Supported Chest and Heart Opener you can combat the stress of the crazy holiday season or a regular day at the computer.

I am currently offering a holiday Special for you to give this gift of fitness and relaxation to yourself or a friend.

Other links

Opening the Heart

Yoga Sequence for Gratitude

7 Yin Poses Gratitude

What Are the Benefits of Yoga Chest Openers

Chocolate, Calories and Yoga…

Do you have Halloween candy in your house tempting you every moment? By the time I finish writing this blog I pray I only eat 1 piece. I will keep you guessing how many pieces of candy I eat while writing. Happy reading!

The Numbers

According to Hershey’s there are 87 calories in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup package. So, if you just eat one that’s only 43.5 calories, right? (Who eats just one?!) While the number of calories a person burns doing yoga or any other form of exercise depends on several factors, I looked up how many yoga classes you would need to burn off that calorie intake.

Simplemost has an article about how many calories you burn doing different types of yoga. The range is between 175 and 550 calories. Of course, the more you put into exercise the more you burn. For a typical beginner of Hath yoga, 175 is a good estimate. So now you are jumping up and down because you can eat 2 packages of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. That is 4 peanut butter cups!

BUT before you do, let’s look at a few other factors. What are in those calories? So I do not repeat myself, check out my Blog Balance Series #5: Balancing Your Menu. Everything is a choice that YOU make. Would you rather eat 4 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or  SOMETHING else around 175 calories that IS healthy?

Another question to ask is ‘How would this make me feel?’ There is not a right or wrong answer, just an honest introspection. It is not BAD to eat candy. That is not the point of this blog. With moderation and a support group we all can improve our lives and the lives around us. Yes, that can mean with chocolate.

Let’s face it, we have excess and should try limiting our consumption. To do that I am trying to get most of the candy out of the house. Of course, I keep a small part of it to use as bribery (for the kids and myself, too).

How I Get Rid of Candy

  • Give to Teachers. Yes, they have a bribery system too, and teachers love getting gifts.
  • Try to buy the healthier options to give out. Things that contain dark chocolate, peanuts or peanut butter or pretzels are usually healthier. Then, if I have any leftovers, I will have healthier options to choose from.
  • Look for ANYONE who may need a, ‘Yes I care’ and try to brighten their day by giving them candy.

How I Try to Avoid Gaining the Extra Pounds

  • Positive Thinking – Thanksgiving and Christmas are yet to come. It is way too early to start putting on pounds (I guess that’s half-negative, but you get the point).
  • Bike/Walk – The more active I am, the more calories I will burn. Plus, I’m not spending money on gas or polluting our beautiful city. It’s hard to gain weight if you are constantly moving instead sitting in a comfortable chair when you travel from Point A to Point B.
  • Make Better Choices – I try to drink more water, be more active and eat more vegetables. There are consequences to all actions. My Hubby is my support on this one because once he gets something in his mind, he doesn’t let it go.

The good news is that we can control the quality of our lives to some extent.

To help you in this food crazed time of year I decided to run a SPECIAL. 2 private (tailored to you) or semi-private (tailored to you and one friend) sessions for $99. That’s less than $50 per private session or less than $25 per person for a semi-private session. Buy it for yourself or as a gift for the holidays. Email me @ humblewarriorerin@gmail.com for more information.

Other Articles:

Fitness for Weightloss