How was your Thanksgiving? I hope it was full of love, laughter and gratitude.
Have you ever wondered why gratitude makes you feel so good? Well, the emotion of gratitude releases levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. These are chemicals that make you feel good.
Not everyone has a healthy relationship with their relatives. For some, holidays are stressful and toxic.
But even if your Thanksgiving was not full of love or laughter, if it is at the very least it was filled with gratitude, then the holiday should make you feel good physically.
More importantly, giving thanks makes other people feel good. They will in turn hopefully give thanks to others, setting off a chain reaction of positive vibes.
So, try it today. Try paying forward some positive energy and see if it makes you feel good inside. It surely will help others feel good.
For this week’s posture, I would like to discuss Matsyasana, Fish Posture.
Matsyasana can be performed with effort or restoratively. It is also a heart opener.
As the name suggests, heart openers pull your shoulders toward the backside (posterior side) of your body allowing for the muscles of the chest to open. This posture also opens the intercostals.
When the chest muscles are opened, the back muscles contract, so this posture activates the trapezius muscles, latissimus dorsi, the rhomboids and the posterior deltoids. When the legs are extended straight forward, the quadriceps are also engaged.
To practice Matsyasana with effort, begin on your back with your legs extended. Then follow these steps.
- Tuck your tailbone under to broaden the sacrum and lengthen the lumbar spine.
- Flex your feet and activate your quadriceps
- Place your hands under your sitting bones.
- Draw your shoulders away from your ears, lengthening thorough the cervical spine.
- Press into your elbows to lift your chest up. Imagine a string is attached to your heart center pulling your chest upwards. Continue to press into your elbows. There is very little weight on the crown of your head.
To practice Matsyasana restoratively, place a block at your shoulder blades (not in your low back) and one block underneath the back of the head (optional). Let go of effort.
You can also place your feet in Supta Baddha Konasana, Bound Angle Pose, by letting the soles of the feet touch and the knees fall out to either side of the mat. Try to relax, breathe, and release tension.
You could even try practicing gratitude here with your heart open, a metaphorical posture showing your willingness to give.
- Fish posture helps relieve anxiety and stress.
- This posture increases your ability to take a fuller longer breath by opening the intercostals muscles and the chest muscles (pectoralis major).
- This posture also can help improve posture by opening the shoulders.
Happy Heart Opening!