By Todd Jones
(Yoga Journal February 2008 )
‘Opening the heart is one of the most important goals of hatha yoga,’ says Todd Norian, a certified Anusara teacher at Yoga Alliance. Norian, who lives in West Stockbridge, Massachusetts, has taught yoga more than 25 years. ‘When your heart opens, you recognize your connection to [the] source; you have a direct realization that life is good.’
The ancient yogis considered the heart to be an energy centre that is the core of the Divine within you. On a physical level, opening the heart centre counterbalances the hunched posture you may have from driving or working at a computer. It can also lift your spirits and help combat depression.
To cultivate all these benefits, Norian suggests practicing six heart-opening poses. They are Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose), Dhanurasana (Bow Pose), Matsyasana (Fish Pose), Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose), Ustrasana (Camel Pose), Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose).
Hold each for five deep breaths, keeping the sides of your body long, the heads of your upper arm bones back and the lower tips of your shoulder blades curling in toward your heart.