I still remember my first Yin Yoga class – one where you hold each pose for what feels like forever… During a class, my instructor mentioned how common it was for people to get emotional during these classes. Most know yoga to be a form of exercise and stretching but it can also give you a good release of emotions and frustrations. I’ve always known that yoga can open up your heart and a floodgate of emotions but I didn’t actually know how…and so I’ve asked my friend from Nano Yoga to share some heart yoga poses with us.
My Q&A with Nanaco Kwai
Q: How does yoga open up the heart?
A: Practicing yoga can help you with your posture, have you ever noticed how we spend a lot of our time hunched over a computer, driving or looking down on our phones. Yoga poses can help us to improve our posture, but also to open our shoulders and therefore helping to open up our heart.
Like the law of attraction, your heart is where your Anahata Chakra is, this area of energy from your body is the centre of unconditional love. When your heart is open in postures like Camel pose (Ustrasana), your body language changes, when your heart is open you can invite love to you. It can be difficult to open your heart after having your heart broken, but by doing the physical postures, it will translate to your mind, to open your heart both mentally and physically.
Q: I hear so many stories of women breaking down and releasing emotions during yoga – why is this?
A: Yoga is thought of as only a physical practice, but I’m sure as most people who have practiced yoga notice that, yoga makes you feel calmer, more centered, brings an awareness to your body and mind This connection catches certain people off guard, when the physical postures, depending on what is going in their life, can set off unknown or hidden emotions to the surface. Your body can physically hold on to emotional tension and pain, without your mind being aware of it. Yoga postures can release these while you’re more relaxed and therefore emotions can bubble up and rise up to the surface. If you do cry in a yoga lesson or in your yoga practice, view this positively, it is a release of tension and emotions that you’ve been holding on to.
Q: If you’re looking to attract love, should you just focus on heart opening poses?
A: Practicing yoga in itself is a self care practice, which can help you connect with yourself and to cultivate self love. You can incorporate heart-opening poses that feel good to you, make practicing yoga, something you enjoy, set your intention for your practice and attracting love as your theme before your practice.
As a beginner you can incorporate easier poses like Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana) into your practice, then move on eventually to a much stronger heart opener like Wheel Pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana), make sure to build up your upper body strength and to have open shoulders for this pose.
Q. What’s one relationship tip you’d give other yogis?
A: If you’re looking for love, work on self love and self care first as your number one priority. When you’re not with someone it’s important to love yourself first. If you feel like all of your friends are in relationships, that its difficult to find that right person, I’d get a coach like Iona, sometimes it’s positive guidance and expert knowledge that you need to get to your goal of meeting that perfect person.
Q: What’s your favourite heart opening pose and why?
A: I love Camel pose (ustrasana), it’s a foundational pose and a great backbend, heart opening pose for whatever level of practice you’re at. I also love the sudden feeling of openness in your heart and the rush of energy in this pose.
Nanaco’s favourite poses:
These beautiful heart yoga poses were taken in the sweet and cozy snow chalet Nanaco and her partner own in Myoko, Nagano.
All images via Nanaco Kawai at Nano Yoga.