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Anahata yoga is a type of yoga that uses a series of asanas, or postures, combined with breathing techniques and meditation practices. This type of yoga also focuses on the heart chakra, which deals with making decisions based on inner and outer love. The theory behind anahata yoga is that it helps create a better sense of self, as well as aiding in straightening the spine while improving air quality through the lungs. Each student practices meditation and relaxation, as well as deep breathing techniques which are said to increase oxygen circulation and help strengthen and tone the mind and its thoughts.
Focusing the breath and calming the mind are center points in any yoga practice, and anahata yoga incorporates this into each movement. Unlike traditional yoga, this specific type uses meditation and visualization exercises incorporated into the practice to help open the heart chakra and increase loving energy. It is theorized that this will help create a link between the mind and the heart, which can help increase appropriate and balanced decision making in life. Rather than creating too much vigorous movement into the practice, anahata yoga uses calming postures and movements.
It is common for practitioners of anahata yoga to keep a very deep and regulated air flow when they are breathing in everyday life and not just during the practice. This is because this type of yoga helps train the body to breathe deeply in order to increase oxygen circulation. It is thought by many anahata teachers that this proper breathing can also help straighten the spine, which helps create a natural flow of energy throughout the body. This energy is known as chi in some teachings, but can also be referred to as spiritual energy.
While anahata yoga does not combine vigorous movements like vinyasa yoga, it can still increase muscle strength and endurance. All forms of yoga, including anahata, can also increase the joint function and improve circulation while bringing down emotional stress. The deep breathing that is used in anahata yoga practices also helps slow down thoughts and calm the mind, making it good for those suffering from poor sleep or mental stress. Many practitioners see anahata yoga as a spiritual practice that helps them move closer to divine energy; other practitioners find it helps them increase self-awareness and the connection to inner energy.