Updated: Nov 16
Longevity is a fascinating topic, isn’t it? If you’re reading this article you probably agree. Yoga & meditation can - with no doubt - help you to live longer, but most importantly to live better by keeping your body healthy, calming your mind from anxious thoughts and making you feel more connected to yourself and others.
There are tons of scientific research papers suggesting that kindness matters when it comes to increasing your lifespan. The act of kindness doesn’t need to be a big thing; it can be something as small as holding the elevator door for someone. What matters is that there's no expectation of receiving something in return.
The teachings from the yoga tradition say that the heart centre - the space in the middle of your chest - is the seat of love, kindness and compassion. If you want to be kind and live longer - like a yogi - then I invite you to practice any of the 5 heart opening yoga poses I'm sharing below (or all of them!).
I specifically picked 5 yoga poses you practice on the floor. The floor isn't only offering you extra support but it also brings a grounding quality to your practice which is key in Autumn when you want to slow down & turn your attention inward.
Heart Opening Yoga Pose #1: Cat-cow
Flex the spine in synchronisation with the breath. On the inhale you arch the spine, opening up the chest and the front of your heart centre; on the exhale you round the spine, tucking the chin to the chest and opening the back of your heart.
Pro-tip: micro bend your elbows to avoid overextension.
Benefits: This pose keeps your spine healthy and improves your posture.
Heart Opening Yoga Pose #2: Supported fish
Sit at the bottom of a bolster (or a couple of pillows) and place one folded blanket at the top of the bolster. Recline on the props. Place your arms by your side with the palms facing up. Legs extended forward OR soles of the feet together, knees wide. Cover your body with a blanket, close your eyes and stay here for as long as you like. If you want to see a video of the set up, watch this REEL.
Cover your eyes with an eye-pillow or a rolled up t-shirt
Support your legs with 2 yoga blocks or cushions
It relaxes the diaphragm, allowing you to breathe more effortlessly
It gently stretches the shoulders, chest, throat
It improves your posture by counteracting the crouching forward.
Heart Opening Yoga Pose #3: Heart-melting pose
From tabletop pose (standing on your hands and knees) start to walk your hands forward, keeping your hips on top of the knees. Arch your spine, allowing your heart to melt towards the floor and rest your forehead on the floor. Close the eyes and take long deep breaths.
Place a folded blanket under the knees for extra comfort and a block under your forehead if it doesn’t touch the floor.
Deep stretch in the shoulders and armpits stimulating the lymphatic system which plays a key role in your immune system
Making space in the chest & rib cage, expanding your lungs capacity.
Heart Opening Yoga Pose #4: Sphinx
Lay down on your belly. Lift the chest and place the forearms on the floor. The palms are facing the floor and the shoulders are on top of the elbows. Place the feet a bit wider than your hips, the toes pointing back. Imagine you’re projecting your heart centre forward, opening the shoulders and the chest.
Pro-tips to deepen the heart opening:
Push your pubic bone down
Without moving your forearms imagine sliding them towards the chest
Decrease low back pain by strengthening the back muscles
It helps accentuate the natural curve of your spine
Heart Opening Yoga Pose #5: Supported Child's Pose
Place a bolster (or 2 pillows) between your legs and fold forward, turning the head to one side. The arms wrapped around the bolster. Close the eyes and bring your awareness to the space between your shoulder blades (the back of your heart centre). Breathe deeply, imagining to expand the space in this area of the body with every breath you take.
Cover your low back and hips with a blanket
Roll up a blanket and place it under your ankles
This is the quintessential pose for relaxing your nervous system
It softens and relaxes the back of your heart centre which is often a forgotten area
There you have it, thanks for reading until the end!
One final thought about kindness. Doing something nice for someone else feels good and it might increase longevity, but I believe taking care of yourself is as important. Your yoga practice is an act of self-kindness because you choose yourself over all the other million things which are going on in your life.
If you're ready to choose yourself, your body and your health, then I invite you to work 1:1 with me. I create bespoke 4-weeks or 10-weeks yoga & meditation programmes which will guide you step by step to the most inspiring, kind and expansive version of you.
Get in touch via the contact form to book your FREE 20mins introduction call.
Until next time…
With love & gratitude,