Support A Steady Yoga Practice: Lead With Your Heart


“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” – Rumi

A set of heart-opening poses may be the very most important piece of the yoga asana puzzle. Here are three reasons to lead with your heart:

#1: Emotional and Physical Revival – Psychologically, backbends can teach you receptivity, acceptance, compassion, and determination. Physically, backbends correct our tendency to hunch. Especially in this era of increased computer and cell phone usage, our “tech necks” and upper backs are in dire need of lengthening.

#2: Beat Bone Loss – The act of spinal extension or back bending can help to prevent or slow down the effects of osteoporosis or bone loss. Gentle back bends such as Salabasana (locust pose) or supported Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (bridge pose) were included in a long-term study of osteoporosis reversal (click here for details).

#3: Energizing – Back bends bring energy into our subtle heart centers. The heart or anahata chakra stimulates our love for self and others and permits our brilliance to shine. Often times in class following a back bend, I can feel my students’ positive energy level come alive.

Here are some heart-warming poses to ignite your flame. Try to incorporate one of these essential back bending postures into your yoga practice each day:
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Honor Your Bones!



Focus on these strengthening yoga poses to help build bone and resist osteoporosis.

Virbhadrasana or Warrior  I and II  can add needed strength to thighbones and hips. Although any pose involving a lunge can have the same effect.

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), Phalakasana (Plank), Purvottansana (Reverse Plank) and Table Balance strengthen the upper body.

Bhujangasana (Cobra), Sphinx and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge) stimulate the spine and prevent what is commonly known as “dowagers hump,” in the elderly. Bridge pose and all variations of Shoulderstand also stimulate the thyroid gland, which balances the endocrine system and encourages bone growth.

We will be concentrating on these bone building postures in our classes next week!

If you have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia, please consult with an instructor and check with your physician before attempting any yoga postures.