Coming out of winter, many of us have been sitting for months with our chest sunk behind our shoulders. We’re cold! We’ve been watching House of Cards. We just feel a little tired, okay?
But pause for a moment as you’re reading this and notice where your chin is in relation to your throat. Notice how your shoulders are sitting in relation to your sternum. On the table, we can work into the congestion that sometimes gathers beneath the clavicles and help you open the spaces between your ribs. It’s remarkable how this helps clients bring their heart forward and shoulders down; they literally breathe easier.
Thankfully this is work you can do on on your own, too. Here are three techniques for opening up your heart and chest:
1. Things you like to smell. Really! Flowers, sauteed garlic, pine boughs, babies: Scent gets into the limbic system – that deepest realm of brain – and is one of the most direct sensory pathways to our nervous system. So, inhale…over a delicious pot of soup.
2. Find your people. You know those friends around whom you relax into just who you are? The ones who listen well and know how funny and smart and beautiful you are? Call them. Go for a walk. Commit to talking about how you actually are, in real time (not, cough cough, over social media).
3. Supported heart-opening poses. Yoga is a *great* tool for opening the chest and heart (and hips and shoulders and…). I’m a big fan of restorative-style yoga, particularly this pose, supta-bada konasana:
And this sequence of poses (confess I loved the line drawings – no fancy-ness required!).
Images thanks to thingswelove2.blogspot.com.