The Need For Open Hearts

Or: Why I Teach on Self Love Pt. 2

Last month, I shared some of the personal reasons why I commonly teach classes centered around Self Love. In all the classes I teach, heart opening poses are a main focus. After all, who couldn’t benefit from a more open heart?

Below are a couple reasons why I include heart opening poses in all of my classes, and how I relate these poses to Self Love.

1. Humans have a natural decline in posture as we age. Throughout the day, throughout our lives, we tire of holding ourselves up, and our head hangs heavy as our shoulders round forward. This is brought to our awareness by those sharp painful knots in our backs and necks from sitting at desks and typing all day, from bending and lifting, or from rounding toward our cell phones and tablets as we text or explore our favorite apps.

Heart opening poses help us to counter the effects of our bad posture and recover from it. I try to include at least one heart opening pose in every class I teach, and I often begin my classes with a supported Fish Pose. Many Yin classes I’ve attended include several forward folds and very often, they do not include a single heart opener. We will never recover from the painful effects of our bad posture by making the same motions that caused our pain in the first place.

I once selected a Yin yoga video on YouTube that was supposed to be “for back knots.” There were a couple nice stretchy poses that explored the upper back muscles where those knots frequently live, but there was not one heart opener. Continuing to repeatedly forward fold in yoga as we do in life will only worsen our back pain. We must counter these bad postures by opening our chests and shoulders. By opening our hearts.

2. Another reason I teach on Self Love and feature heart openers regularly is that we need open hearts right now more than ever. In a society where bullying, hate, and discrimination are on the rise and growing ever more normalized, we need more and more love. Exploring heart-opening poses helps open your mind to the idea of being more open and loving while also physically opening your chest and shoulders.

In most of the classes I teach, I prompt my students to “think of one thing you love about yourself” while resting in a heart opening pose. While their physical hearts are open, their minds explore the idea of loving more. For, we are better equipped to love others when we truly love and accept ourselves.

Self love leads to less self-judgment and less stress. When you begin to truly love and value yourself, acknowledging and appreciating all the parts that make up your whole, your self-confidence will grow. Furthermore, when you can see the value in all the parts of yourself, you can in turn see more value in others. You can share the compassion you gave to yourself with others you meet, spreading more love as you go.

Go ahead. Spend a little time on you. It’ll be good for everyone.

xoxo heart

I know who I am, and I am worthy…

of love

of success

of happiness


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