Our work in the yoga classes this year will be based upon looking after our hearts. The work this term involves physical postures to open the chest and strengthen the back – by doing this we are creating more space for the heart to do its’ job. Often, as a result of sitting for prolonged periods, the back weakens and shoulders become rounded forward, this has the knock on effect of closing in and ‘crushing’ the space of the heart. A strong upright posture also has psychological effect on our being – a feeling of being uplifted, confident and joyful. When the heart is able to perform as nature intended the blood vessels run freely and blood is distributed to all the parts of our body. This gives us the essential energy that we need both to sustain and heal ourselves and to help others. It stands to reason that if the blood supply is restricted or even slightly subdued, gradually over time our energy feels zapped and we give off negative vibes, grumbling and complaining about our aches and pains…
Establishing Non Violence
“Around one who is solidly established in nonviolence, hostility disappears.”
‘Ahimsa’ is the Sanskrit word for non-violence and above is the translation of verse 35, chapter 2 of Patanjali’s Sutras. When hostility disappears it leaves space for kindness and compassion. Although we see these often as emotional, touchy feely things, when the body is deprived of energy none of us feel that we have enough energy to be kind and considerate. But… when we have a ‘spring in our step’ or some ‘joi de vivre’ and feel ALIVE then we are smiley and kind hearted to all around us. So let’s hear it for the chest openers and back bends and practice as often as we can (don’t overdo it mind you)!
Our focus for this year will be Anahata – the heart chakra. Anahata colours our life with love, compassion and beauty. Through our yoga pracite we’ll fill our hearts with love and generosity – give ourselves the time and space we deserve to feel loved and give love with joy and radiance.
In our asana this term we’ll be opening the chest area with back bends and twists, creating space to breath and for the heart to beat. Following a warm up we’ll steadily increase the complexity, strength and duration of postures to ensure that a gradual opening of the body is achieved.
We’ll be working with Mudra and Bandha for relaxation and the relief of stress and anxiety. Our aim will be to develop compassion for ourselves, those around us and the wider world. Many of the readings and practices will come from the Radiance Sutras by Lorin Roche – you may like to get your own copy for inspiration of your home practice, I cannot recommend it highly enough.
This term we will turn our attention to the cardiovascular system – bringing the heart to mind! We will be hopping and shaking around, raising the heart rate and considering how best yoga can serve our heart health and circulatory system… Without giving the game away, we’ll be moving the body in upper torso twists and back bending with the Bridge posture. These will open up the space that the heart can be in – so that it can go on with its uninterrupted beat given the space that it deserves.
We’ll be ‘Learning to Relax’ with some exercises from the book of the same name by Mike George, using exercises to let go and feel calm and at ease. All of which will give the heart a rest from our usual day to day stress. Stress is now known to be a major cause of heart problems, so the more you can learn to relax the kinder you are being to your heart.
If you would like to join us next term, please contact me here to book a place
The NHS offers a sophisticated heart ‘MOT’ to all patients, over 40, registered with a GP. The test can work out your risk of developing some of the most disabling – but preventative – diseases. The tests carried out include – blood pressure, cholesterol and BMI. Known also as the NHS HEALTH CHECK, the tests can detect potential problem – especially of the heart – before they do real damage.
We are all at risk of developing heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and dementia – but the good news is that these conditions can often be prevented. Following the tests personal advice is given about how to reduce your own risks by altering lifestyle, habits and diet.
The best bit – it’s free of charge! The worst bit – yes a blood sample will be require, ouch!