Yoga Sequences to Uplift the Spirit
It is interesting to study the psychology of yoga poses. Different states of mind can be experienced while in yoga postures (asanas) of various shapes. Hence, you can design a practice to become more calm, joyful, focused, alert, or relaxed. The spine arching, chest opening poses are utilized to relieve depression or uplift the spirit.
What is normal posture?
The range of movement during the course of the day typically does not include chest expanding actions, rather the opposite is more likely. The chest houses the physical heart, considered the seat of emotions. The heart chakra, Anahata, located at heart level in the center of the body is associated with love and compassion. When thee components are crowded, the mood is flattened or deflated and the depth of breathing is shallow. By standing with shoulders rounded and chest sinking, the head tilted forward and downward, one can observe this psychological state.
What are the Effects of Chest Opening?
When we expand the chest with active or supported chest opening poses, spaciousness in the chest cavity is created. The ability to breathe is enhanced and body chemistry is transformed. We become more alert, energized and open hearted.
Supported or Energetic Approach?
Methodically practice to strengthen the back, extend the shoulders, hip flexors and thighs to prepare the body to open the chest region. Work with a chair or bolster to provide support to remain in the pose for several minutes. This is an excellent way to work if one has low energy or a flat affect. For a more energetic practice use the rope wall to invigorate the chest cavity. Use the yoga chair as support to increase the movement of the spine away from the skin on the back. Once one has suitably prepared, the classical backbends can be practiced.
These sequences are somewhat technical and are generally followed with poses to bring the body back to a neutral position. It can take some time to understand how to create a sequence to open the chest. Lessons with a good teacher can help you cultivate the skill to practice in this manner. At our Iyengar Yoga Source studio, we practice spine extending poses every month. They are progressive and you can learn to practice in the privacy of your home practice space.