Friday morning yoga, Maurice reveals to our class, in his most authentic yogic tone, that he will now introduce us to the most powerful yoga pose in the world – the HUGASANA !
I am immediately not sure if he is being serious, – HUGASANA? I logically break down the word. Hug…….well, we all know what that means, and asana, simply means a pose…….hug pose! Is he for real or just mucking around?
Maurice tells us to stand and face someone. I turned to Libby and moved closer to her. Maurice, extending his arms in an exaggerated motion, tells us to open our arms wide and to wrap them around each other. Libby and I held this position for 4 to 5 breaths.
Research shows that a proper deep hug, with hearts pressing together, can provide numerous benefits. The nurturing touch of a hug builds trust and a sense of safety, helping to stimulate open and honest communication. Hugs instantly boost oxytocin levels, which combat feelings of loneliness, isolation and anger. Holding a hug for an extended period of time elevates serotonin levels lifting moods and creating a sense of happiness. Hugs strengthen the immune system, because the gentle pressure on the sternum, and the emotional charge this creates, activates the Solar Plexus Chakra, which stimulates the thymus, a gland, which regulates and balances the body’s production of white blood cells, helping to keep us healthy and disease free. Hugging relaxes muscles, releases tension in the body, soothes aches and pains by increasing circulation into soft tissue. These are just some of the many physical and emotional benefits of hugging.
The secret, Maurice reminds us, is to hug like you really mean it. It’s something short of a bear hug, but a full body contact hug where you and your partner melt into each other and hold there, to let all the healing effects of the HUGASANA soak into your body all the way to your internal organs. The best thing about the HUGASANA is that it works both ways!