“The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our life and our relationships.”
– T.K.V. Desikachar
Focusing on the breath is the most important aspect of yoga. No matter which type of yoga you practice, learning to control and direct your breathing is at the foundation.
For today’s Food For Thought Friday series post, in keeping with the focus of the last couple of days on mindfulness, being kind to yourself, and loving yourself, I’m going to share a yoga breathing exercise that will help you let go of the past and live in the now. It is designed to help you express more love, understanding, and compassion for yourself and others, as well as to help you let go of old blocked feelings, clear negativity, and unlock your heart.
Unlocking The Heart
Time: 10–15 minutes
- Place a tightly rolled blanket or towel on the floor. Lie down on your back with the towel or blanket just underneath your shoulder blades. Your head and shoulders should rest comfortably above the towel, your lower back and legs below. If you experience any discomfort, make the roll smaller.
- Place your arms on the floor (bent up at right angles) on either side of your head. Close your eyes.
- Breathing through your nose, take a few minutes to notice how your breath is moving in your body and whether any emotional or physical sensations arise. If they do, try to be present with the experience, without judging it in any way.
- At the end of your next exhalation, engage your abdominal muscles to draw your belly toward your spine. Continue to hold in your belly as you inhale (it may expand a bit), and when you exhale, focus on drawing it in again. Keeping the belly engaged as you breathe will move the breath into your chest and upper back, elevating your rib cage. Try to direct the breath to areas that are especially tight and rigid, gently sculpting your body and creating space from the inside.
- Stay in this position for five minutes, remaining focused on the breath. Then roll to the right side and take the towel or blanket out from beneath you. Lie back down and notice any changes in your body. Does your chest feel more open? Does your heart? What are you experiencing right here, right now?
– Katrina Repka
Thank you, thank you, thank you!