Most of us walk around each day with a bit of a protective layer over our hearts, which manifests as a kind of tension around the chest and most likely forward rolled shoulders. As we protect our hearts through tension and by closing the front of the chest, we begin to block the natural flow of emotion through our body. This causes us to hold on to certain emotions that really just need to flow through our body, providing us with an experience of being human, and then allowing these emotions to leave again.

The Bhujangasana, or Cobra pose, allows the body to open up, both physically and energetically. By loosening up the front of your chest, your energy is given license to flow, and your back is able to go into a deeper, more relaxing curve…not from force, mind you, but from letting go and daring to open up.

Opening up the blocks to your energy channels doesn’t mean going around with no protection whatsoever. It’s more a matter of protecting yourself consciously and without tension. When you practice your backbends, your legs are strong, shins hugging towards each other and inner thighs are rolled in. Your tailbone tucks in order to support the pelvis and keep the lower back from collapsing.

In your upper body, the inner edge of your upper arms are turning up towards the ears and move towards the back of the body and, most importantly, your shoulder blades are pressing in towards each other. Imagine the shoulder blades as gatekeepers of your heart, making it safe to open the front of your chest and to relax your heart to go even deeper into the experience of a backbend.

All of this muscular energy is conscious protection that we create in order to tell our body that it is perfectly safe to open up! It is the muscular energy that provides us with the stability we need in order to have the courage to soften and open in the pose.

Try Bhujangasana (Cobra) for yourself! Start by:

• Lying face-down with your arms bent and hands in line with your chest.

• Press your shins in towards each other and tuck your tailbone down towards your feet, in order to protect your lower back.

• Roll your shoulders back as you lift your chest forward and then up, curling into a cobra.

• Press your hands out to your sides, as if aiming for your feet while still supporting your weight, so you can press your heart forward.

• Now, gently squeeze your shoulder blades in towards each other and, then keeping that strength, soften the centre of your chest, as if you were melting your heart.

• Imagine a pillow inside your ribcage and visually place your heart on that pillow, allowing it to rest completely! And then just notice what kind of experience this creates in your body.

In life or in yoga, the expression ‘open your heart’ means being courageous enough to feel the experience of one’s emotions, to allow them to flow around your body, feeling them, acknowledging them, in order to in the end, when they no longer serve us, let them go. In other words, having the courage to really be truly human! And to many, that is what back-bends and chest openers are all about.

Author's Bio: 

Mette Muller is an intuitive life coach, specializing in empaths and other sensitives who feel stuck, misunderstood or overwhelmed. After overcoming her own struggle, she designed a development system comprised of her own experience and a three-tiered system involving energy management, mindset & manifesting and developing intuitive abilities. Thus, Best Self Experience was born.

As a certified Soul Realignment practictioner, instructor of Anusara Yoga and having worked with non-profits to assist in social change in many nations, Mette has gathered a wealth of knowledge of various peoples, across many cultures and religions. This knowledge lends itself toward a greater understanding of what individual development comprises of and blends seamlessly into her natural passion for helping others attain true happiness in their lives.