Open Your Heart and Release Your Shoulders
One area of the body that is especially vulnerable to overuse is our shoulders. Let’s explore ways to support the physical and metaphorical “wings of our heart” with gentle movement, stretching, and strengthening.
GRAVITY NEVER TAKES A HOLIDAY
If we are not attentive, the relentless force of gravity may result in forward head position, rounded shoulders, and myriad other unpleasant symptoms. Instead of giving way to the pressure of gravity, we can engage with the force of gravity by opening into our heart space. Anatomically, the heart is positioned underneath the powerful pectoral muscles that may become shortened from repetitive use. Physiologically, the heart pumps blood to the whole of our body, muscles, and brain. Our heart maintains our physical life. And, the heart is recognized globally as the residence of our emotions—both negative and positive. How we feel and how we hold our bodies are undoubtedly connected. That’s why it’s important for us to acknowledge not only the physical heart but also the metaphysical heart, to support alignment from the inside out. By committing to opening our heart space, we “disarm” ourselves. Unveiling our innermost heart to ourselves is one way we can dissolve pain and tension resulting from disconnection and lack of expression. It is important to keep our hearts open not just to receive love and light, but to let the light and love that dwells in our hearts shine forth.
“METTA” PHYSICAL HEART OPENER
In addition to taking exquisite care of your physical body, it’s also a beautiful act of “metta,” or loving kindness, to give attention to your heart space. This exercise is inspired by one of our favorite teachers, Hugh Milne, who founded Visionary Craniosacral Work. 1. Find a comfortable position sitting, standing, or lying down and enjoy some deep, cleansing breaths. 2. Make a physical connection to your heart center with the palm of your hand. Imagine you are checking in on an old, dear friend as you inwardly say, “Hello Heart. How are you today, Heart?” Repeat this expression a couple more times and allow your heart to respond. You may be surprised by whatever response comes to you as you remain open to wonder. Would you be willing to enjoy and include all your feelings? 3. Notice how you feel as you savor a few more deep breaths.