Anahatasana, as performed traditionally, can be a challenge. It is wonderful for people with a full range of motion in the shoulders, and can support those who spend much of the day hunching forwards or doing physical activities that require lifting.
Those with neck and shoulder injuries, pregnancy, tight chest muscles, significant bust, or high blood pressure will not attempt the pose on the floor, but will instead shift to the wall (pictured below). This variation can include allow much greater control of edge, allows for one arm at a time. It can also be taken with the support of a chair instead of a wall, if the practice space is better equipped with chairs than walls.
Teachers looking to maximize the use of the wall, or those interested in addressing the upper body meridians, or support those with upper body modifications prefer this variation, which I call “wailing wall.”
For those with loads of neck extension, shoulder mobility, the classic posture can be taken with the forehead or the chin to the floor.
As with any upper body pose, numbness or tingling in the fingers is an indication that the student has moved beyond the edge and can adjust the shape accordingly.
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