We usually think of the heart as a physical organ that pumps blood around our body to keep us alive. It certainly plays that vital role, but research from the HeartMath institute has found out that it is much more than that.
The heart has it’s own intelligence and has a magnetic field that is more than 5,000 times greater in strength than the field generated by the brain. This field can be detected a number of feet away from the body and has the capacity not only to affect all the other organs and systems in our own body, but also other people around us.
Their research also shows that “Positive emotions not only feel better subjectively, but tend to increase synchronization of the body’s systems, thereby enhancing energy and enabling us to function with greater efficiency and effectiveness”. In Dru yoga, we use affirmations and visualisations, which help to create those positive feelings and emotions – making us feel better about ourselves, and improving our relationships with others.
Inspiration for the next few classes comes from nature where everything is blossoming and growing. Flowers are opening to the sunshine, as we ourselves take off our winter layers and feel ourselves opening in the warmth (today anyway!).
We’ll be doing postures and sequences that focus on opening the chest and heart areas, such as Parsvottanasana – the charity pose, which invokes compassion for ourselves and others. It’s also good for improving posture, and a wonderful posture for the spine, creating strength and flexibility.
In the Wind in the Willows, Mole was spring cleaning, then said “`Bother!’ and `O blow!’ and also `Hang spring-cleaning!’ and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat. Something up above was calling him imperiously,…….. So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, `Up we go! Up we go!’ till at last, pop! his snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow.
……. The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring without its cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow……..” – Kenneth Grahame
To me, this perfectly captures the exuberance of this time of year. We sometimes need to leave the ‘oughts’ and the ‘shoulds’, and do something that makes us feel truly alive. To feel the energy of the earth and to blossom with it. Yoga can give us an internal spring-clean, blowing away the cobwebs with the breath, clearing unhelpful emotions, helping us to stretch, grow and feel that tingle of being alive.
Which sort of spring-cleaning do you prefer? No points for guessing mine…….
Ganesha, the Hindu elephant god, is the remover of obstacles. He has the strength and power of an elephant, but spreads a message of peace and tranquillity. He’s also the god of new beginnings. We can imagine his form and draw in the qualities of strength, calm and courage.
The ganesha mudra “stimulates heart activity, strengthens heart muscles, opens the bronchial tubes and releases any type of tension in this area. It opens the fourth chakra and gives us courage, confidence and openness toward other human beings” – Mudras, Yoga in your Hands by Gertrud Hirschi