Open Your Heart

As we embrace this new month of March it's time to review how we feel, right here, right now. Three months have passed already and it's time to offer yourself a little reflection on how things are progressing... do you feel that your feet are firmly planted on the ground and you're super motivated, full of energy and being incredibly productive? Or do you still feel like you have a few little ties holding you back? Or are you putting yourself down because you've lost motivation and your new year's intentions are no longer in sight? I'm here to tell you that either way you're feeling, are okay!

Within classes the past week & continuing into this week I have given guidance on reflection, acceptance, letting go and focus. All great things that will give you a little boost from day to day, even if you only remember one small thing from class whether it's how you felt in a certain posture, you noticed a new challenge or my words resonated with you. I have said so many times and will always continue to say, every time you come and practice, you're showing up for yourself and moving forward in your life. Whether you lay on the mat for an hour and forgot where you were or you pushed yourself for the whole practice. You came with an open heart and no expectations.

The heart chakra is the centre of love and connection. The heart chakra is associated with the colour green and the element of air, it's all about space within yourself and your life, feeling freedom. It's the door to our inner temple, our soul, the infinite part of ourselves.

This chakra is responsible for regulating the energy associated with self-acceptance, self-love, compassion, openness, and unconditional love of others. This may seem quite an overwhelming concept in a busy world with rules, boundaries and deadlines. Even day to day tasks can become a burden on our self expression and heart chakra.

So how do we work with opening the heart? I want you to read through this list and make note of if they resonate with you now, or have in the past. Answer them truthfully as this self care and healing is all about you and only you.

  • You feel disconnected from the people around you (even close friends & family)

  • You are withdrawn and try to avoid socialising with people

  • You tend to be needy in your relationships, OR …

  • You tend to feel emotionally distant in your relationships

  • You are terrified of being alone

  • You gain your self-worth from other people (you’re a people-pleaser)

  • You find it hard to forgive and you hold grudges easily

  • You find it hard to let go of bitter and angry thoughts

  • You always feel a sense of anger towards other people/life

  • You suffer from social anxiety

  • You frequently feel jealous of other people

  • You tend to have many self-critical thoughts

  • You are constantly replaying or reliving a trauma

  • You have poor boundaries making you prone to developing codependent relationships

  • You struggle to give or receive love freely

  • You are constantly suspicious and distrusting of other people

  • You have issues with the heart, lung or chest region such as asthma, high blood pressure or poor blood circulation

  • You feel a constant sense of heaviness in your chest

An imbalance of the heart chakra can be experienced as loneliness and separation, feeling like you don't belong or fit in or feeling disconnected, know that it's perfectly normal and okay to feel these things. Through life we experience so many different situations that can make us feel so open, vibrant and content and other times, lonely, confused and down. Your yoga practice teaches you to accept all sensations and experiences within life, and learn to respond with kindness and without judgement.

It's how through all of these ups and downs we respond and take action to create a healthy and happy body, mind and future.

Where do we begin? The heart chakra plays a vital role in how we look after ourselves and others. Looking out on how we move through the world, It can taint our vision and opinions, we can be on cloud 9 in dream state and we can also be resentful. As always, the mind is an incredible tool and can feel like a minefield to even begin to unravel, but I promise you. You have all the tools, you are just distracted.

Yoga opens your eyes and ears to the wonderful world of self discovery. Almost as if you're relearning all about yourself, teaching you to accept you, the perfectly imperfect you. Your beautiful personality, your amazing body and your bad habits! The best visualisation that I can think of right now is imagine when you come and lay down on your yoga mat or even when you sit to meditate, that you are in the dark. And through that intensity of the unknown your imagination begins to go wild, fear, anxiety, thoughts and patterns begin to appear BUT by using your mind, with awareness and patience you create a flashlight (not literally!!) This flashlight (or one pointed focus) could highlight so many details that you had hidden away, maybe experiences you thought you had overcome, situations you dealt with badly. So over time this flash light becomes more brighter or you learn to switch it on quicker. The mind recognises things in the dark and with curiosity and compassion you feel ready to bring them into the light, to inspect and observe and finally let go of, or learn from.

Let's talk about healing the heart shall we?

When we experience imbalances within the Heart Chakra we can feel physical discomfort around the chest, upper back and shoulders. When we are uncomfortable or lacking confidence, we tend to make ourselves small. Walking around with our arms crossed over the belly, head held low and shoulders hunched forward to protect our heart. Within a yoga practice we work through spinal mobility and flexibility but also build strength within the supporting muscles. Backbends play a huge role in opening the heart and from day to day activities where we sit at desks, hunched over a screen or phone, driving and generally having vague and unconnected interactions with people can start to take its toll on the body.

Who here is scared of backbends, the thought of a backbend makes you want to run a mile, or that lovely lower back pain keeps reminding you to avoid exercise and keep taking that ibuprofen!

As many of you know by now, the more you understand about your body the more you will work with it. So backbends can feel scary, invasive and make you feel exposed! But like with anything, the more you do it, the more you learn to love it, the more you benefit and in no time, it just comes natural to you.

There are many ways to help you come out of your shell and start practicing self love and care, from meditations, yoga postures, journalling, mantra, visualisation, communication and hugging!

Let's start with the physical side of things, thinking of anything tha