3 Dec, 2020
The Heart chakra is located at the centre of the chest and, in addition to our physical heart, its energy permeates our lungs and our thymus gland. When the Heart chakra is imbalanced, it can present itself as grief, bitterness, resentment, inability to forgive, depression, and unworthiness. We close ourselves usually by numbing our feelings when we experience suffering. The lesson here is that we are not designed to avoid or to cling to any suffering. We are designed to see it, hold it with love, bring love to it and release it. We create Heart chakra healing every time we choose expansion rather than contraction. During our yoga practice, we activate this area through backbends that open the chest and contemplative practices that reintroduce us to our loving nature.
Anahatasana is named after the Heart Chakra. While holding the pose, it brings the heart above the head and feels much like prostration and offering of oneself. While in the pose, press your knees and the top of your feet onto the ground, to keep the muscles of your lower abdomen engaged and to refrain from collapsing in your lower back. Keep your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and lightly hug your shoulder blades in towards the middle of your back and hips. Bring both your hands to rest, at the centre of your chest and feel the rhythm of your heartbeat. Float one hand out. Let it rest here for a breath, then return it to the centre of your chest, as you float the other hand, away from your chest.
This posture provides a gentle stretch to the front of your abdomen and chest. The diaphragm experiences a passive release, helping to lengthen your breaths. Hold the pose for three to five minutes, or as long as you continue to feel supported and comfortable. While in the pose, alter your normal breathing, every fifth or sixth breath, by taking a slightly exaggerated inhale that expands your belly, ribs, and chest broadly followed by a deep exhale. To come out of the pose, bend your knees, elevate your hips and shift your shoulder blades further away, from the blanket roll until your spine lays flat on the ground and the blanket roll is under your knees. Rest your hips until your spine feels neutral, then roll on the side and return to a seated position.
Half Camel Pose is a deep backbend for your upper back and opens up the heart space. By bringing your hand to touch your heart chakra, you activate this opening. Kneel with your shoulders stacked over your hips and your hips stacked over your knees. Bring your palms, fingers facing downwards, to the top of your glutes. Press your hips forward, as you lean your heart back. Bring one hand to your Heart chakra, with the option to grab your heel with your other hand for more intensity. To exit the pose, activate your core and slowly re-stack your shoulders and hips.
Wheel pose develops mobility and flexibility in your spine and hip as well as creates space in your heart. Start on your back, with your feet on your mat and knees to the sky. Bring your hands to your mat, by your ears, with your fingers facing your shoulders and elbows faced upwards. Inhale and press evenly onto your hands and feet to push yourself up. To exit the pose, tuck your chin towards your chest and slowly lower on your mat.
Bridge Pose is a gentler variation of Wheel Pose and it begins to create flexibility and strength in your spine. This pose also lifts and opens your heart. Start on your back, with your feet on your mat and knees upwards. Bring your arms by your sides, with your palms faced downwards. Inhale and press into your feet, to lift your hips toward the sky. Try to evenly distribute the body weight between your feet and the base of your shoulders, without putting too much pressure on your head and neck. For more intensity, interlace your fingers and squeeze your shoulder blades together. To exit the pose, slowly lower your spine while exhaling.
Warrior 1 Pose strengthens your quads while creating flexibility in your hips. A gentle backbend to this pose taps into that Heart chakra energy. Find a Warrior 1 stance with your front knee stacked over your front ankle and your back foot planted firmly down at about a 90-degree angle. Bring your hands to your lower back, and slowly start to inch them down your legs. As you do this, keep your hips moving forward as you allow your chest to lift up.
Reverse Plank Pose strengthens your arms, legs, back, and core while opening your heart centre. Begin seated on your mat with your legs extended. Bring your palms by your hips, fingertips facing your toes. Inhale to press onto your hands and feet and lift your hips upwards.
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