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The arms carry the action of the heart into the world. They allow us to give love and receive love. In some ways, they are an extension of the heart itself. Keeping that pathway open is one way we can free up the flow of energy and love that supports the health of our own hearts.

It’s also important to recognize that blood follows energy. So where energy flows, blood can flow

It’s also important to recognize that blood follows energy. So where energy flows, blood can flow. If energy is blocked, it affects the flow of blood. The yoga postures of the Ornish Lifestlye Medicine program set a foundation for exploring and opening this pathway of energy between the heart and the arms.

Here are some these healing movements used in the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine program and their value in freeing up that energetic flow:

Neck and Shoulder Exercises

These are the first movements we initiate in our posture series. These help participants identify tension patterns in the neck and shoulders that might be hindering the flow of energy in those areas. They also help to bring increased flexibility to those areas so there is better range of motion. The shoulders are often called the “wings of the heart.” When the area of the neck and shoulders are unlocked, the energy takes flight and there is a feeling of freedom in the heart.

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Cobra Pose

This pose asks us to lift up and expand the heart while gently rolling the shoulders back and down creating a kind of buoyancy in the chest. As you release the pose, the head is turned to one side and the arms rest down along side the body where the focus is on the flow between the heart and arms. Often we instruct our participants to breath any tensions out through the fingertips while they rest here. Cobra pose also helps to restore movement in the area of the chest and shoulders, providing easier and more efficient blood flow to the heart.

Half Locust Pose

This pose has the opposite affect on the shoulders; it creates space between the shoulder wings. This is done when you draw the arms under the body as a support for the pelvis. It helps to release stored tension patterns in the back of the shoulders and heart.

Seated Forward Bend

This pose starts with palms together at the center of the chest while sitting with outstretched legs on the floor. The first movement is to reach the arms out and up and then gently slide them down the legs. This gently sweeping motion really aids in the flow of blood and energy to and from the heart. As you rest the hands on the legs and allow the head to soften downward, the space between the shoulder blades is once again broadened. Sliding back up the legs to rest the palms back at the heart completes those pose. This is a kind of full cycle movement that mimics the gestures of giving and receiving.

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Fish Pose

This is one of the last poses we use in our series of daily yoga postures. It involves a more passive and restorative approach to increasing awareness of flow. We lie over a bed pillow that is placed along the spine, while resting back with the arms wide open. The bed pillow lifts the chest into a more expanded and open position, while the arms rest down and open to the sides. It’s even helpful to imagine the breath carrying the energy between the heart and the arms for added benefit.

These are just a few of the poses we use to bring attention to this idea of opening up the flow between the heart and the arms. The next time you come to the mat take notice of your own body and how these poses can help you to release any areas of blockage and increase the flow of energy.

Practice some of these yoga poses that increase the flow between your heart and arms, and let us know how it makes you feel?


Contributed by

Susi Amendola
Stress Management Specialist

What have you done to remind yourself of the things that have meaning for you?

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