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Compassion, self love and mindfulness: Sequence for yoga for the heart space

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Mental Health / Modern Yoga / Personal / Yoga for... / Yoga philosophy

Compassion, self love and mindfulness: Sequence for yoga for the heart space

Compassion, empathy, self love and mindfulness… all words that you’ve probably heart a lot when people talk about the benefits of a yoga practice. But have you ever wondered how the two are actually connected and what is the explanation behind it? Well, look no further, because I am here to give you the answers that you are looking for.

No matter what or how you practice yoga – whether it is on or off the mat – yoga is always a mindfulness practice. That means that it is a time when we turn the gaze inward and look what is going on behind the surface. Asking questions like: “how does that feel?” “do I want to do this right now?” or “is this right for me?” are all examples of a mindfulness practice. It’s all about pausing (internally), checking in, reflecting, questioning and answering. And the best part is that it is all happening internally, which means you don’t have to share your process, you don’t have to compare yourself to other and your journey will be unique. I don’t know about you, but that is something that I need more of in my life.

Self love is connected to this, too. Like mindfulness, it is a big word that is used quite frequently (by me, too) and means different things to different people. To me, self love is about accepting me the way I am right now, and treating me like my best friend. I find it really fascinating that we are so hard on ourselves but show so much more compassion towards other people. Why is that, I wonder? Anyway, as you can already tell, all of these elements are interconnected. So let’s talk a little bit more about opening the heart space, where in yogic philosophy, the heart chakra (Anahata) is believed to be – the center for emotions, compassion, empathy, self love and mindfulness.

What is a heart opener?

The heart space consists of the chest (front of the heart), the sides of the body (sides of the heart) and upper back (back of the heart). So when we want to open and strength the heart space on a physical level, this is what we want to target. That includes backbends, side bends and forward folds, so a pretty broad asana spectrum. My favourite poses for the heart space are child’s pose (forward fold to stretch the upper back), seated side stretch (for the sides of the heart), kamel pose (as a chest opener), dangling pose (for the back of the heart), crescent low lunge (for the front of the heart) as well as a seated twists (sides of the heart). By stimulating these areas, we allow the chakra energy to flow freely again (because chakras can be blocked) and are getting in touch with all the elements that are connected to the heart space again. Imagine it like rolling a lemon before cutting it open – we want all that goodness (aka the juices) to be present. They have all been in there regardless, but this way they are closer to the surface.

What are the benefits of a heart opener?

So to focus on the mentioned key words like self love, empathy or mindfulness, you can also focus on them in your practice by targeting the heart space physically. This might be easier for some people than to do a mediation for the heart space or something a little more abstract. If you haven’t tired anything like it, feel free to try some examples from my instagram, I’ve done a yin yoga series for self love practice and a practice for the heart space, too. It can’t hurt to try it 😉 plus, it’s very beginner friendly as you can modify the classes to your own personal needs, too!

So I hope this broke big words like “mindfulness” and “compassion” a little bit down and made their connection to your yoga practice more obvious. If you have any additional questions or information, don’t forget to share it in the comments!

 

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