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Heart-Opening Yoga for Stress Release

Stress often manifests in the center of the chest. This sequence helps release tension and open the heart to soothe anxiety and pain.

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We often hold stress in the center of our chest. Reasons for this include poor posture, as well as our tendency for shallow breathing, particularly when we’re under stress. When we learn to soften in our heart space, we make room for our breath to flow in and emotions to release. The following is a subtle and simple relaxing sequence, which encourages openings in our centers of emotion. It is both grounding and opening; it re-sets the body and the mind to feel at ease. The following sequence requires four blankets, or one bolster and two blankets. If you don’t have blankets or bolsters, you can use a pillow or couch cushion. 

Rest Pose: Lie down so that the head is supported, and the neck is long. Allow the sternum and the low back to soften and widen. The palms face up and the breath is gentle.

Reclining Butterfly: Stay reclined on the blankets or bolsters, and bring the soles of the feet to touch. Let the knees fall open. If this is very intense on the hips, you can place rolled up blankets or bolsters underneath the thighs to give more support. Let the palms face up and breathe.

Supine Twist: Lie on the back relaxed. Draw the legs to touch and move them out to the right about thirty degrees, keeping the back and neck in place. Lift your left arm up overhead along the ground and gaze over to the right. Hold for ten deep breaths, and return to center, repeating to the other side.

Photos by Hailey Wist
Model: Makeesha Hill
Collaboration with Eddie Stern

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