Heart opener does body & mind good

heart opener over blocks

I’m practicing heart opener over blocks.

Are you a desk jockey?
If you are someone who regularly sits at a desk and most likely at a computer then you are a desk jockey, which is a person who sits at a desk.
The yoga sequence I am teaching this week is to help those of us who suffer from our sitting culture. We need to open our hearts, relax our shoulders and reverse the negative effects we do to our bodies in a regular position of flexion.
Because of our sitting culture we also have tight hamstrings, hips, glutes, etc. We have a weak core. Our shoulders and neck are tight. Our posture is poor. The imbalances in the muscle strength in our bodies have a domino effect.
I believe our sitting culture is hurting and possible ruining our bodies.
Sometimes when I end a yoga class I remind my students who I am, when I teach and if they want to chat with me I am available for questions, comments, etc.
A few months ago one of my students told me he had a comment.
He told me that from repetitive typing he had some nerve issues in his arms. He had tingling, numbness, discomfort, etc.
In some of my classes we practice heart opener over blocks, which is also called Supported Fish Pose. (I am also pictured above in this pose.)
In my classes this week this pose is practiced early in class.
This is a great pose for low back pain. This pose puts our bodies into extension (instead of the usual flexion–think about typical computer back hunch back). We open our chest here, spread shoulder blades and take stress out of the low back. Having the block behind our shoulder blades reminds us where backbends should come from, behind our heart center, not the low back or the neck.
My student told me he loved that pose (as many do and I do, too!) and that for a whole week he practiced the pose at home.
A week later he told me that the issues in his arm are gone. WHA??? No way. Here’s the other crazy thing. He has had doctors, physical therapists, etc. try all kinds of things and the issues just wouldn’t go away.
He does the pose for a week and he says he is “cured.”
I told him I would do some research into it and tell him if I found any reasons why this pose “cured”* his arm issues. *Cured–his words.
I found an article on YogaJournal.com that mentioned Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and mentions a modified version of heart opener over blocks: TOS is caused by compressing or overstretching nerves or blood vessels far from the hands, near the top of the rib cage. It can develop from repetitive stress and unhealthy movement patterns, like playing a musical instrument for long hours or typing with your head pushed forward and out of alignment with the rest of your spine, or from an injury such as whiplash.
Also from the above linked article on Yoga Journal, TOS occurs when tight muscles, misaligned bones, or scar tissue near the thoracic outlet squeeze or pull on these nerves or blood vessels hard enough to cause pain, numbness, or other unpleasant symptoms in the hand, arm, shoulder, or neck.
From a post on Yoga For Healthy Aging blog: … Most people diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome will first be referred to physical therapy for postural re-alignment and stretches to open up the area of the neck and upper chest in order to create more space around the brachial plexus and arteries and veins to lessen or eliminate the symptoms associated with the condition.
Heart opener over blocks stretches and creates space to open the area of the neck, shoulders and upper chest.
After my students come out of this pose I love to look at their faces. Most of them look like they just got up from a nap.
The heart opener does amazing things for the body and the mind.
The more I teach the more I learn about yoga and the body. It’s fascinating. I’m so glad my student shared his experience with me.
And I am helping more people with the information I learned from him and what I find in doing my own research.
I love learning and sharing my knowledge and love of you with my students.