Healing from the Heart with Yoga

“I wish we could talk about our hearts, like we talk about the weather, because whether or not, we are okay is more important than the chance of rain”, quote from R H Swaney, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

We asked our Director, Moira, to put pen to paper and give us her thoughts and opinions on healing from the heart and how yoga can help. Here’s what she had to say:

Let’s talk about our Heart and how to tune into the space of the Heart. How might this help us get a true sense of how we are, in ourselves and in the world around us?

Yoga expands the expression of the Heart

The practice of Yoga and Meditation refine our focus and tune us into the frequency of the Heart. I recently gave a DRU yoga and Creativity session at Trauma Healing Retreat. The attendees experienced a subtle opening of the physical body and the expansion of Prana or energy flow in and around the body. This is the world of the Heart, where we feel Happiness, Love, Joy and Compassion for ourselves, others and all Humanity. We receive a sense of clarity, good health and believe that all is as it should be, Santosha, or contentment or simply a little lighter in spirit.

Our heart is located in the chest cavity, many classic Yoga Asanas open the chest. In particular, back bends give a sense of heart expansion and may direct energy (prana) from the lower body to the heart space.

In the Indian traditions the Heart (Anahata) Chakra is the seat of the air element and when the lungs move freely, we get into the places where grief and sadness may be trapped. The release of tension from feelings and thoughts of a heavy spirit gives us the enthusiasm to feel better and love ourselves more, and we experience comfort and ease in the relaxation stages of our practice.

A simple practice of lying with the legs up the wall, is a great place to start benefiting our heart as venous blood is pumped to the physical heart more efficiently. The following Asanas have a strong effect on the heart space, as they massage the area around our heart and lungs.

Choose to include one as a focus posture for your next home practice session. Remember to support yourself by warm up exercises, be grounded your energy and anchor the spine with gentle contraction of the core muscles as you move into one of the following:

  • Bhujangasana, the Cobra especially works the thoracic spine and activates the heart space.
  • Utkatasana, the Chair gives the heart area a gentle massage and works on the mental aspect of the Heart (Anahata) Chakra, breathe into this pose, let go and surrender.
  • Ustrasana, the Camel pose gives an expansion of the chest and frees physical tension.
  • Parvottanasana, the standing side extension, sometimes called the Charity pose, opens the mid thoracic spine and activates the Heart (Anahata) Chakra to bring about the qualities of an open heart; generosity, gratitude and compassion.
    Further asana reference: Asana Pranayama Mudra Bhandha by Satyananda/Light on Yoga by Iyengar
Senior lady sitting on the grass doing Yoga

Bhakti Yoga Heart healing

Bhakti is the spiritual path or spiritual practice within Traditional Indian Yoga of loving devotion towards a personal deity. It is one of the classical paths which lead to Freedom, or Moksha.

How does Bhakti or devotion heal the Heart? To explore, let’s begin by sitting in a meditative mind state and drop your awareness into your heart space as if your heart were the lungs and focus entirely on the breath. Simply observe the coming and going of the natural breath, relax and loosen the body. Let the breath, breathe you and gradually the breath will deepen and slow. You will reach a state of stillness, notice the pause at the end of each inhale and exhale. Be in the heart space and strengthen it by imagining peace and love for a special place or person, a personal deity, they can appear in your mind’s eye, welcome them into your heart. Stay as long as you feel inclined, you might explore the sound of Mantra. In this moment we are linked into the movement of prana or chi, through our whole being, similar to a state of prayer or surrender to the divine or universal source. You may even imagine you are breathing in sparkling white diamond light as you receive positive energy or life force to the Heart.

The HeartMath Institute which originated in the US, calls this ‘building up’ your heart field or Heart Coherence which leads to the optimal function of the heart, mind and body systems, sounds to me like healing from the Heart.

The HeartMath Science evidence indicates that our personal coherence improves our memory and cognition and is communicated through our energetic field, having an uplifting impact on others. Heart Coherence | HeartMath Institute

The benefits of Heart Coherence also extend out to our social and global communities. Seeing everything in the world through the eyes of our heart brings us to Kindness, Compassion and Love.

Lokaha Samastaha Sukhino Bhavantu

Aum Shanti, Shanti, Shanti

May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and

May the actions, words and thoughts of my own life contribute in some way

To that happiness and that freedom for all.

Interested in attending our free online community classes taught by a range of specialised yoga teachers? Register for our classes here.

Our grants portal is currently open! If you’re a yoga teacher who’s doing good for your community through yoga, we encourage you to start your application today!

Community yoga classes

We are passionate about sharing the joy of practising yoga and offering you an opportunity to connect with your true self on a regular basis.
View previous classes or book now for our next class.

Free
22nd March 2024 12:30pm (AEDT)

Hatha Community Class with Ahimsa Helen Cushing

Ahimsadhara is an expert teacher and author in yoga for trauma survivors. After teaching War Veterans for many years, she is now focusing on international programs and further writing. In this class, she uses asanas to help with healthy breathing and as a preparation for pranayama and yoga nidra.

Free
22nd April 2024 12:30PM (AEST)

Dru Yoga Community Class with Angela Baker

Angela is an experienced Yogi and Dru Teacher Trainer, environmental campaigner, peace educator, and avid traveller, always seeking the best methods to promote health through Dru Yoga’s practices. Join Angela on the mat for a simple journey through energy block release, alignment with sequence, asana and mudra to leave you feeling refreshed, inspired and welcoming change.

Testimonials

Our sole mission is to create opportunities to do good for others through yoga.
And we’re making an impact.

A huge thank you to the Yoga For Good Foundation...

…for their incredible contribution to our Life Now Yoga and meditation programs!

This generous donation will mean we can buy new yoga equipment, run a new yoga class in Broome, and enhance our meditation program for cancer patients and their primary carers.

Cancer Council Western Australia

Sending out gratitude to the Yoga for Good Foundation.

Their grant is enabling me to offer FREE trauma informed therapeutic movement and relaxation to frontline mental health and social services staff in Bega.

Participants are really valuing the time out for themselves and experiencing integrated poly vagal theory. And I get to be in a teaching space, yay!

PremKranti Counselling

The generous grant we've been awarded from the Yoga For Good Foundation...

…allows us to reach more underserved and vulnerable community groups who can benefit from a trauma-informed yoga and embodied mindfulness practice at zero cost to the participants.

Some of the community groups we’ll be serving in the current months include 000 Foundation, Men’s Walk and Talk and WAGEC.

Yoga on the Inside