Who else spent months sprawled on the couch bingeing television and hours perched in front of the computer zooming with friends and family? During quarantine, most of us found ourselves more sedentary than usual. Prolonged sitting does a number on our posture, and our shoulders round forward, our necks grow stiff, and our posture begins to slump. Not only does our body fall out of alignment, but we can become more closed off emotionally. The inner reflects the outer.
This week, we’re focusing on asanas (postures) that loosen up the shoulders, relax the throat and neck, and create more spaciousness in our spines. When we focus on relieving stress and tension that lurks around the neck and shoulders, we can alleviate pain. Practices focused on the upper body create strength and mobility and encourage proper posture. They also go deeper within and benefit the subtle body, where our chakras reside.
Of the seven primary chakras located along the Sushumna Nadi or spinal column, the four higher chakras or seats of higher consciousness reside in the upper body. They are the Anahata or heart chakra, Vishudda or throat chakra, Ajna or third eye chakra, and Sahasrara or crown chakra.
The Anahata chakra is where both love and fear, our primary emotions, exist. Opening and strengthening the area surrounding the heart helps us step away from fear and open to love and all of life’s possibilities. Our heart is the seat of compassion, where we ascend past the ego and learn to put other’s needs above our own. Backbends and arm balances are great postures to help you breathe easier and regain that loving feeling.
The Visshuda chakra resides at the base of our throat and is considered the place from which we speak our truth and express our feelings. Developing the ability to be clear and direct with our words is another benefit of focusing on the upper body. 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 “command central.” Your Third Eye is the seat of intuition and your higher self. Spending time cultivating clarity helps you transcend distraction and reactiveness in your daily life. Asanas like Balasana or Child’s Pose stimulate the Ajna chakra.
Depicted as a thousand petal lotus, the seventh chakra, Sahasrara, on the crown of our head, is our connection to spirit. Freeing tight muscles and mental strain allows us to open ourselves to our individual connection with unconditional love and the Universe. Headstand, Savasana, Tadasana, and meditation all aid you in finding your karmic relationship with the universe.
This week’s classes will enhance your posture, alleviate neck and shoulder tension while creating more freedom in your heart, more authenticity in your expression, and more clarity in your mind. Check them out!
Dana Hanizeski - Deep Release Neck & Shoulders
Kristen Boyle - Hips + Shoulders: How We Hold Tension In The Body
Erin Wimert - Yin for Your Upper Body
Dana Smith - Open Your Heart
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