Love is in the air!
Just in case you didn’t know, it’s February and that means Valentine’s Day! But before you roll your eyes and click to the next blog, we’re going to show ourselves some self love!
By opening the Heart Chakra you will instantly increase your self respect. You will open yourself up to allow love, and you will gain a positive outlook on life.
To open our Heart Chakra we have to know what throws it off balance: difficulty in relationships, attempting to live vicariously through others and dependence on others for your happiness.
Each chakra is associated with a color. The color green represents the Heart Chakra. Green represents harmony, creativity, abundance and health. Green, which is also representative of nature, offers new energy and revitalizes a tired body!
The best heart chakra yoga poses are those that open the chest area as well as poses that draw energy into the heart. So throw on a green shirt and let’s practice four asanas to assist us in opening our Heart Chakra!
Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
Kneel on the floor with your legs hip width apart. Press your shins and the tops of your feet into the floor. Place your hands on the back of your hips. Inhale and slowly lift your heart up and allow your hips to move forward. Draw your shoulders back as you breath into the posture. Draw them back together once you are in the asana, hold for three to five breaths, then take a moment in Balasana (child’s pose).
Salamba Bhujangasana (Sphinx Pose)
Lie on your stomach, with your forearms flat on the mat, elbows under the shoulders and legs together. Press forearms down into the mat and inhale as you lift your head and chest off of the mat, keeping the neck in line with the spine. Bring your big toes together and zip all the way up your legs, engaging the glutes. Keeping your elbows close to your side, use your arms to press the mat away—keeping your shoulders out of your ears. Hold here for six to 10 breaths, then relax in your child’s pose again.
Bidalasana (Cat Pose)
Start on your hands and knees. Position your hands directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Have your fingers fully spread with the middle fingers pointing straight ahead. Make your back horizontal and flat. Gaze at the floor. This is your neutral positioning. Take a deep inhale here, and on the exhale begin to tilt the pelvis in. Do this by gently pulling the abdominal muscles backward toward the spine, tucking the tailbone under and gently contracting the glutes. Press downward with your hands so you stay lifted away from the shoulders, and press the middle of your back toward the ceiling, rounding your spine upward. Curl your head inward. Gaze at the floor between your knees. Return to neutral on the inhale, repeating as many times as you like.
Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclining Bound Angle Pose)
I love using a block in between the shoulder blades, then releasing the crown of the head towards the mat. Laying on your mat, bring your toes and heels together, allowing the knees to fall open. Turning the palms up towards the ceiling, lift your sit bones off the floor so your spine can relax on your mat. Take as much time here as you like, as you feel the expansion, freedom and growth of a open Heart Chakra.
Heidi Templeton is a Tampa Bay Area yoga instructor specializing in vinyasa, hot and standup paddle board yoga. When she’s not practicing asana, you can find her in the kitchen cooking up vegetarian dishes. Heidi is sharing her love for all things health and wellness on www.facebook.com/HeidiFit.
Assistant Ed. Caroline Scherer