Welcome to one of my favorite times of the year, February! Everyone knows this month marks #heartmonth. I pulled out my red Valentine’s decorations and dolled up the house today. Ah yes, the greatest of these is LOVE! In God’s infinite wisdom, He knows how important it is to help that fist sized muscle mass that pumps oxygenated blood to remain healthy. Guard your heart with all possible vigilance, for from it flow the wellsprings of life. Proverbs 4:23.
When I think of a spring, I envision clear cool refreshing water flowing out. I consider them perpetually pouring out from source. Throughout the state here in Colorado there are natural hot springs. And then there are effervescent springs that produce natural seltzers. In my mind, a spring doesn’t pool up like a pond or reservoir but rather the water comes up and out.
My sister Yvonne called this week to tell me about an interesting read from the American Heart Association (AHA) called Reclaim Your Rhythm, which talks about creating healthy habits to help take back control of your physical and mental well-being. Also this week, I responded to a woman who wrote in asking how yoga can help her heart. When Holy Spirit prods me twice, I take that as a message that bears repeating.
I pray that what I have to say will be of benefit to someone reading this.
How well do you know your heart? How does it feel when you place your hand over it? What helps it? Are you able to pin point what fills your love tank and what depletes it? When does your heart feel open? When does it feel closed? Can you put a pulse on what makes your heart tick? Let me encourage you to take time the know the rhythm of your own heart.
According to the AHA, heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. “While you may feel too busy to de-stress – you can decide to claim your “me time,” one moment at a time. Reduce stress for a healthier version of you. Stress can have lasting effects on your health and well-being. These health effects impact some groups disproportionately – women, for example, are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression compared to men.”
Duh! Us modern women not only take care of households, children and the family pets, we also bring home the bacon! Let’s face it, we are stressed to the max. Heck, simply walking out the door is met with stress. Last night Laura asked, did you remember your cell phone, cell phone charger, readers, hat, gloves….mask? “Oh shoot, gotta go back to the car, through the snow, in my heels, for the %&*@ MASK!” Pile on terrible heart break, grief, loss, and voila, we might be time bombs with a heart attack knocking on our door.
The AHA says “If you have any of these heart attack signs, call 911 and get to a hospital right away.
1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.”
Face it, living a stress-free life isn’t possible, yet knowing how to manage it is. With Holy Spirit’s help and some self-control, there are three ways to reduce stress. 1. Turn negative self-talk into positive. If you tell yourself, you CAN do something, chances are, you will. Be thankful. 2. Stop stress in its tracks. Be aware of what triggers you and make a plan for when it happens. Breathe deeply, take a walk, step away from your desk or take whatever action needed to break those moments of intensity. 3. Participate in activities that are known to reduce stress. Take a walk, read a book or do Christian yoga. Regular yoga practice may reduce levels of stress and body-wide inflammation, contributing to healthier hearts. Several of the factors contributing to heart disease, including high blood pressure and excess weight, can also be addressed through yoga.
At Frogpose yoga we incorporate intentional breathing to increase circulation along with physical poses which increases heart rate. Plus we take a mindful approach that God is healing us, especially in our hearts. Everyone comes to the mat with varying degrees of muscle flexibility and strength, but one thing everyone has in common is our hearts desire for unconditional love. The foundation of Christian yoga is born out of the notion that God loves us whether we can touch our toes, hold a pose for 5 minutes, stand on our hands or not. The only skill needed is to show up for yourself and be prepared to nurture your relationship with your heart, whole body and Jesus.
In any given Frogpose beginner power flow class it’s likely we’ll practice energetic heart opening poses such as camel, floor bow, dancers and bridge. It’s recommended that poses like these, that require arching of the back, be practiced only once the body has warmed up, where your muscles and facia have softened, and the hips have been released. Since these are poses that benefit the heart, your focus and attention is brought to the area between the collar bones versus how much the back is/isn’t bending. Yes, your spine is benefiting from flexing but it’s a broadening across the heart area that drives the pose. To imagine the heart pulsing, growing the color green, expanding out of your chest, and flowing out, just like a spring of water, is the ultimate expression of the poses.
In the moments of breathing through heart opening poses, the wellspring of life flows out of you. God loves you and I deeply, and for us to keep his love to ourselves isn’t the message of Christian yoga. We want to allow the love we feel in our hearts to journey off the mat and into the hurting word around us. Everything in life demands practice, including yoga. Expand your faith and improve your flexibility by coming to class this week. Get in touch with your heart as we set our intention on Bible verses and poses for the heart. If you’ve never tried yoga before, let me invite you to be brave and try something new. You’ll fall in love with it and the community. Christian yoga does the heart good.
Where: Harvest Today 7905 W 120TH BROOMFIELD and facebook live @frogposeyoga
Sole to Soul Colorado invites you to a day of nourishing your body, soul, spirit in community: whole foods, yoga, hiking and scripture.
“Stepping Toward Whole Health Day Retreat”
3 John 2:1 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
$55 includes lunch and snacks
South Boulder, 3/26 deadline
Fill out the contact form and we’ll save you a spot as space is limited.
Frog pose yoga is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
At the foot of the flatirons, BOULDER, CO
JOIN THE MOVEMENT! EIN# 82-2579520
In Person Class Wednesdays at Noon: Harvest Today 7905 W 120th Broomfield or online://www.facebook.com/frogposeyoga FACEBOOK LIVE
Wednesday at 12pm