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Heart Openers [videos]

Here are a few videos I used to inspire and build a heart opening flow. 

Yoga Back Bend Poses : Yoga Virasana Back Bend Pose

In the Yoga Studio: Briohny Smyth

Vinyasa flow yoga – heart opening full flow

Possibility

Sometimes we have such rigid views of what is possible for us that we stop ourselves from becoming theperson we want to be.

2013-04-13 16.24.44
look what I can do!

I used to say “I have no upper body strength.”  One day during the teacher training I decided this was no longer the story I wanted to tell myself.  So I instead started saying “I’m working on my upper body strength” or “I’m working on getting stronger.”  This did not immediately make me The Hulk.  However, it did change the story that I created.  Once I said I was working on my upper body strength, I did just that.  Instead of not even trying because I didn’t believe it would ever be happen, I let it be a possibility.

The stories we tell ourselves are powerful.  It was completely true that I did not have upper body strength.  It was a fact.  The problem is, as long as I saw the situation that way, I did not give myself permission to change it.  It wasn’t until I came up with a true but positive statement that I could allow myself to progress.

This lesson has been helpful off the mat as well.  Recently I have been working on my issue of envy towards my friends for the great qualities I perceive in them that I would love to have.  The story in my head was “I am a envious person.”  That may be true, but I would rather not be.  I would rather be happy and excited for my friends.  Which I am.  So whenever I feel that little thought of envy, I say to myself “I am happy for my friend.”  And then I examine why it is I might want whatever it is that I’m feeling envious of and frame a sentence around that as well, such as “I am my own person.”

It is not magic.  It sounds outrageous, to just talk yourself into more positivity.  It is outrageous.  It’s outrageous that we tell ourselves such horrible things over and over.  It’s outrageous that instead of creating new stories each and every day, we get stuck in the old ones with seemingly no way out.  It is outrageous we block ourselves from becoming the people we would most like to be.

For me being able to do an arm balance isn’t about impressing my friends (though I do like that little bonus), it is about proving to myself that I have the power to change my outlook and therefore the power to change my life.  It’s not magic, but it is miraculous.

What are you stopping yourself from achieving?  Are the stories in your head helping or hindering the person you would like to become?

 

Progress

headstand1

headstand

 

The headstand on the left was one of my first headstands ever.  It was photographed in the first week of January (hence the Christmas tree).  The photo on the right was taken on Thursday.  It is nice to see progress as the result of PRACTICE!  I practiced dolphin for almost a year before I was able to get myself upside down!

Matsyasana (Fish pose w/lotus variation)

I absolutely love the way this pose feels.  It opens up the throat and heart chakras.  It feels like my heart is singing. 

fish
not me.

Matsyasana is usually taken after shoulder stand as a counterpose.  It opens the throat.

1. Lying on your back, legs out straight, prop yourself up with your elbows, so the torso is at about a forty-five degree angle to the floor.

2. Lean your head back slowly and then begin to slide yourself back, reaching the crown of your head towards the floor, arching the back.  Palms can face the hips or up toward the ceiling.

3. Take a few breaths here and then inhale the chin into the chest and let yourself come back onto the back.

 

Lotus variation:

lotus
setting up the lotus

1. Set up your lotus.  Cross one leg on top of the other, pulling the foot towards the upper thigh or hip.  Cross the other leg on top, pulling the foot to the upper thigh or hip.

2.  Prop yourself up on your elbows and begin to slide the crown of the head towards the floor, arching the back.

3.  The hands can be next to the thighs or grab the feet or toes.

4.  Stay for a few breaths.  Inhale draw the chin to the chest.  Unravel and lower down to the mat.

 

matsyasana
Fish outta water 🙂