Heart opening yoga poses are one of my favorite ways to challenge myself…to let shit go…to open myself physically, mentally, and emotionally to the pose, but also to whatever life is currently throwing at me. These experiences are another one of the MANY reasons why I love to practice. This practice is not just about being present on the mat, but also present in LIFE.
Have you noticed how heart opening poses are hard? How they change the way we breathe? How they force us out of our comfort zone? How they even make us agitated and discouraged? Raise your hand if you have experienced these frustrating moments…ME!
*My “oh crap I hate this pose” moment: When I raise myself up into wheel and I let out a grunt, the practice is kicking my butt and so is life. It feels like there is a elephant on my chest and everything feels heavy and the move well just flat out sucks. The first thing that comes to mind when I get up into wheel is I immediately want to come down. I want to thrown in the towel and just be done.
But have you also noticed, that when you allow yourself to LET GO…to breathe…to open yourself to the unknown…to be a little fearless…to take a chance…the heart opening pose allows you to fully OPEN and it all feels effortless.
*My “YES!!! FREAKING GO FOR IT pose” moment: Landing in Half Moon pose and feeling grounded, strong, open, and happy is yoga bliss. When I feel these things and all that other mooshy gooshy stuff, this pose is effortless and yes, just makes me SMILE.
Yes, these heart opening poses also require practice, strength, and balance, but they also offer much more than that and I hope you will be able to feel mental and emotional benefits someday soon.
In the meantime, here are my 5 favorite heart opening poses. Each one presents its own challenge to me in my practice. What I truly love about these poses is that there is ALWAYS room to grow in both the physical practice, but yes also the mental and emotional.
So let it go…Open your heart…Open your mind…Breathe…
What is your favorite heart opening yoga pose?
Do your heart opening yoga poses challenge you?
My name is Katie Uhran. I’m a fitness and lifestyle influencer who lives in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. I am passionate about running, yoga, writing, food, and inspiring others to live their happiest life inside and out. I share workouts, simple recipes, self-care tips, and a glimpse into my own personal journey. It’s real…It can get messy…and there will definitely be some ups and downs. But this is ME. This is my life and the beautiful mess that it is and I want you to join me. To live, learn, love, and ENJOY life to the fullest.
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We are entering a great era in which bliss is chic and a centered, grateful heart is the coolest accessory. It’s amazing to watch things like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness become mainstream. All of us are benefiting from the focus on well-being and healthy living that is finally sweeping through the western world.
As this happens, many ancient eastern traditions are becoming more commonplace. This is especially true for meditation. Today, people are talking about it and actually engaging in the practice of meditation now more than ever before in the west.
But as mainstream as meditation is today, many folks are still getting acquainted with different types of meditation and how it can help. Today, I’d like to enlighten you to the amazing practice of a walking meditation.
In traditional meditation, you sit still for a certain amount of time and either participate in a guided meditation or quiet your internal dialogue in a zen-based meditation.
In walking meditation, you are literally walking and moving throughout your meditation. As you walk, you focus on your breath. You also focus on the physical sensations of walking such as: the sensation of the ground under your feet, the movement of your limbs, and the sights and sounds around you.
During a walking meditation, try your best to focus all of your attention on the act of walking and all of the sensations that accompany it. Similarly to a sitting meditation, you take note of a thought that is vying for your attention but you gently let it go and re-focus back to the act of walking.
Given that walking can be an incredibly sensory-rich experience, it is almost easier to practice thought control and quiet your mind in a walking meditation. If we compare this to a sitting meditation (wherein we have very little sensory experiences to focus on and distract us from our thoughts) a walking meditation is simply a delight for the senses and extremely fertile ground from which cultivating a quiet mind is less strenuous and more accessible for all of us.
But here’s the magical part of walking meditation: It teaches us in vivo that we can adopt a meditative state of mind anytime, anywhere.
As you practice walking meditation and enter a meditative state, you start to experience the certainty that yes- you can bring peace to any moment. Your spiritual self does not have to lay dormant until you have a quiet opportunity to whip out your meditation mats again. You can bring peace to your mind in the here and now, even as you take your morning walk.
Guest Blog by: Diane Webb, LMHC. Diane is a psychotherapist in upstate New York that specializes in anxiety reduction, post-traumatic stress disorder, overcoming depression, transpersonal therapy and achieving emotional peak performance. For more information and how to work with Diane, visit: The Peace Journal Connect via Facebook Here: The Peace Journal Facebook
I don’t care how busy I am I will always make time for what’s important to me.
~ Kevin Hart
My Dear Friends,
I am writing this blog as a letter to you ~ a love letter, if you will allow me to say that ~ because I want you to read it as if I am speaking to you as someone who cares deeply about you. Because I do! Even if we’ve never met. Because you are a human being, I care deeply about you! I am worried that you are so busy you are not enjoying life!
I am increasingly having the feeling that society is suffering from an epidemic of being busy!
Now, don’t get me wrong, in general I don’t have a problem with people being busy. But, I’m seeing that Americans in particular are taking the idea of busy to new levels. As an American, I would like to proudly say that we are a high-achieving people. The problem is that our high-achieving nature is making us ill!
Okay – I know I lost some of you there… but, stick with me. I’m NOT saying that having high standards of achievement is making us ill. What I AM saying is that breakneck pace at which we go after those high standards of achievement is making us ill.
Additionally, many of my friends and neighbors are achieving high standards of being busy just for the sake of being busy. On this score I want to share three crucial points of wisdom:
- BUSY is not necessarily PRODUCTIVE!
- Taking time for SELF-CARE is NOT lazy!
- Being too busy = STRESS = ILLNESS
I chose the Kevin Hart quote at the top of this post because in it he talks about making time for what is important. My question for you, my dear, sweet friend, is:
“Are you important?”
Are you important enough to yourself that you will take time out of your busy schedule for self-nurture???
WHO COMES FIRST?
I wrote an earlier blog for moms Want To Be a Supermom? Take Good Care of Yourself! about how to use the airline analogy of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first. The airlines want you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first (in case of emergency) so that you don’t pass out before you can put the oxygen on your children and others who need help. Likewise, if a mom allows herself some self-care, it helps her to be a better mom because she’s not exhausted and stressed-out.
Honestly, this analogy is important for anyone who has a care-taking role for others. Whether you are a teacher, a nurse, a manager, a parent, an adult child who cares for an elderly parent, etc. etc. you NEED to take care of yourself first!
That does not mean that you are going to the spa or the golf-course every weekend in lieu of taking your kids to baseball or gymnastics. It means that you CAN take an amount of time that you specify (and perhaps work out with your spouse or partner if need be) for self-care on a daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly basis.
Give yourself a little care first and you will be able to give others a lot of care on a regular basis!
Here’s an exercise for you to try out. Make a list of things you can do for your self-care:
I’ll get you started with ideas
- Meditate daily: 10 to 15 minutes 2x is a good start!
- Go to yoga and/ or take a walk or leisurely bike ride 1x to 3x per week.
- Play golf or tennis or engage in another activity with friends 1x per week.
- Have a “date night” with your spouse 1x week.
- Have a night out with friends 1x to 2x per month.
Keep the list going!
TAKE A DAILY TIME INVENTORY
Another good way to figure out how to break busy is to take a look at how you spend your time. One of the very first sessions I do with my Peaceful Living Wellness coaching clients is to have them write out a detailed list of what they do with their time. I have them complete one list for weekdays and one for weekends. It helps us figure out how they are spending their time AND if the way they are spending their time is serving them.
Here are some things that I found when I did this exercise myself:
- I was spending so much time volunteering for my kids’ schools and organizations that it was almost a full-time job! Volunteering is a wonderful thing & it absolutely feeds my soul to help others in that way. But, volunteering so much that I was not taking care of myself or my business was causing a problem!
- I was spending a lot of time vegging out in front of the television in the morning and in the evening. Vegging out in front of the TV is something that can actually be good for you in small doses. 30 minutes to an hour to give your brain a break is really okay. But, how I was watching the morning news and starting my day with negativity and noise was not a good choice. And for those of you who veg out for several hours in front of the TV every night, it’s really not serving you as well as reading or listening to something enriching, meditating, doing yoga, cuddling with &/ or reading to your kiddos, etc. will.
- I was allowing myself to fall down the rabbit hole of SOCIAL MEDIA for too many hours. Even though my social media use was often sporadic ~ 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there ~ when I completed my detailed inventory it ended up being a lot of hours over the course of the day and the week! Again, social media is something that can serve us well. For business-owners it’s a must. For others, the social connection is very uplifting. But, when your time spent on social media adds up, when it gives you FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), when it makes you feel bad about yourself because you are comparing your life to the lives of others, or when it is exposing you to the negativity of others, it is NOT serving you well.
What I found for myself, and what my clients find, after doing this exercise, is that there is a lot of time we all waste on things that are not helping to make us happier healthier people!
Use this exercise to help you figure out what you are doing that is NOT contributing to your feeling relaxed and happy.
TRY TO DO THIS! NOT THAT!
- Spend 10 – 15 minutes meditating by cutting 10 – 15 minutes off your social media time.
- Spend an hour-and-half weekly going to yoga by carpooling for your kids’ soccer, gymnastics, etc. etc.
- Spend an hour reading (or listening to a good book) by cutting out an hour of TV time.
- Spend an hour taking a warm, relaxing bath at night by asking your partner to do the dishes and/ or put the kids to bed. Trade off nights with this if need be.
You get the picture! Fill in your own ideas. Once you get going I bet you will find that there are a ton of DO THIS ideas on your list!
Go to it Peaceful Living Warriors! Find your inner peace and healthy life by BREAKING BUSY! I know you can do it! And if you need support in your quest to Break Busy, reach out to me! We can schedule a breakthrough coaching session in which I can support and motivate you! I’m here for you friend.
Love & Light,
Want more easy, helpful tips on how to break busy? Check out my blog “Are You Addicted to Being Busy?”
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