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Yoga for the Upper Body: Heart, Shoulders, Throat & Head
Yoga for the Upper Body: Heart, Shoulders, Throat & Head

Yoga’s benefits are all-encompassing. This ancient practice affects our entire body, mind, and heart. Yoga can be approached in hundreds of different ways and can be utilized for specific areas of focus. This week, we’ll focus on how yoga benefits the upper body and that includes not just muscles and bones, but your four higher chakras or seats of higher consciousness.

Many of us sit at the computer, drive a lot, stare at our smartphones, and as a result, our shoulders begin to round forward, proper posture disintegrates and we can actually become more closed off in our emotional expression. By focusing on asanas that open up the heart, shoulders, throat, and neck, we not only improve our posture, but we learn to keep the heart open and to communicate with truth and kindness.

So yes, you can loosen up the physical tension and tightness that plagues you, improve your posture, and get rid of aches and pains. But the benefits go deeper by balancing out your Anahata or heart chakra, Vishudda or throat chakra, Ajna or third eye chakra, and Sahasrara or crown chakra.

The Anahata Chakra is considered the seat of love and compassion. When you experience fear or are finding it tough to forgive someone who harmed you, you can feel emotionally blocked and experience physical pain in your heart and lungs. Backbends and arm balances are great postures to help you breathe easier and regain that loving feeling.

The Vishudda Chakra is associated with your ability to listen and express your true voice. When you’re experiencing pain in your neck or are having a tough time communicating authentically, postures like plow, shoulder stand, and fish pose can help bring you into balance.

The Ajna Chakra is commonly known as your Third Eye and “command central.” It is the seat of your higher self. Once your heart is open and your communication more direct, it’s time to clear your mind and raise your consciousness. Spending time cultivating clarity helps you transcend distraction and reactiveness. Asanas like Balasana or Child’s Pose stimulate the Ajna Chakra.

Next, the ultimate Chakra is the Sahasrara. It’s located at the crown of your head and is depicted as a thousand petal lotus. It is believed to be the direct link to unconditional love and the divine. Headstand, Savasana, Tadasana, and Meditation all aid you in finding your karmic relationship with the universe.

Are we saying you’ll achieve Samadhi or enlightenment from this week’s classes? Perhaps you’ll catch a glimpse, but more importantly you’ll be focusing on creating an open heart, truthful communication, a clear mind, and relieving stress and tension. Enjoy!

1. Bhavani Maki - Clearing The Heart and Unloading The Shoulders

2. Cicily Carter - Throat Chakra Flow

3. Rob Loud Full Wheel - Saying Yes from your Heart

4. Kyle Weiger - Arm Balancing Workshop 5 - Forearm Stand

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