5 Yoga Poses to Open Your Heart Chakra

This is your guide to an open heart.

Image Courtesy of HealingEnergyTools.

The heart chakra, also known as Anahata, is where our sense of warm, love, and beauty comes from. It is here that we build healthy, meaningful relationships with ourselves and those close to us. This chakra is located in the center of the chest and it is the fourth chakra counting from the bottom of the spine. 

In this article we will focus on the following: 

  • Signs of an Unbalanced Heart Chakra 
  • Signs of a Balanced Heart Chakra 
  • Instructions to yoga poses that help your heart chakra
  • Benefits to each yoga pose  

Signs of an Unbalanced Heart Chakra: 

  • emotional pain
  • lack of compassion
  • indecisiveness
  • over dependency in relationships
  • feeling disconnected from yourself
  • fear of rejection and abandonment
  • negative self-talk
  • low self-esteem and harsh self-criticism

Signs of a Balanced Chakra 

As with many unbalanced chakras, yoga can be an excellent tool to allow tranquility back into your life. If you're a beginner, struggling to get in the right headspace, try a guided online class! Right now, it's perfect, especially if you don't feel comfortable going into a yoga studio. Bulldog Yoga has amazing online classes to get you excited about your next session. They have customizable workouts, meditation sessions, and workouts targeted towards specific parts of the body, which is amazing when focusing on a particular chakra! It’s truly a blessing if you need an extra boost of support.

Here are 5 yoga poses to help your heart chakra: 

1. Bhujangasana

Cobra Pose 

The Cobra Pose keeps you alert and helps relieve stress. Image Courtesy of YogaJournal.

Instructions: 

Step 1:

Begin by lying on the floor with your legs stretched back. Next, spread your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Hug the elbows back into your body.

Step 2:

After that, press the tops of your feet, thighs, and pubis firmly into the floor.

Step 3:

On an inhale, begin by straightening your arms to lift your chest off the floor. Press your tailbone toward the pubis and lift the pubis toward the navel. 

Step 4:

Firm the shoulder blades against the back, puffing the side ribs forward. Lift through the top of the sternum but avoid pushing the front ribs forward, which only hardens the lower back. 

Step 5:

Once you have done all of those steps, hold the pose anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds, breathing easily. Release back to the floor with an exhalation.

Benefits: 

This pose will relieve stress and fatigue while opening the heart and lungs. 

2. Ustrasana

Camel Pose 

This pose is a great overall body stretch. Image Courtesy of HowlerMagazine.

Instructions: 

Step 1:

Kneel on the floor with your knees hip width and thighs perpendicular to the floor. Rotate your thighs inward slightly and narrow your hips.

Step 2:

Next, rest your hands on the back of your pelvis with the bases of the palms on the tops of the buttocks. Use your hands to spread the back pelvis and lengthen it down through your tailbone. Inhale and lift your heart by pressing the shoulder blades against your back ribs.

Step 3:

Now, lean back against the firmness of the tailbone and shoulder blades. Then, press your thighs back to perpendicular, turn your torso back to neutral, and touch the second hand to its foot. 

Step 4:

Release the front ribs and lift the front of the pelvis up, toward the ribs. Then lift the lower back ribs away from the pelvis to keep the lower spine as long as possible. Press your palms firmly against your soles, with the bases of the palms on the heels and the fingers pointing toward the toes. Turn your arms outwardly so the elbow creases face forward, without squeezing the shoulder blades together. 

Step 5:

Stay in this pose anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. To exit, bring your hands onto the front of your pelvis, at the hip points. Inhale and lift the head and torso up by pushing the hip points down toward the floor. If your head is back, lead with your heart to come up, not by jutting the chin toward the ceiling and leading with your brain. Rest in Child's Pose for a few breaths.

Benefits: 

Overall, this is an excellent stretch. It will work the entire front of the body, ankles, thighs and groin. 

3. Matsyasana

Fish Pose 

Matsyasana stretches and stimulates your belly and neck muscles. Image Courtesy of TheYogaCollective. 

Instructions: 

Step 1:

Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Inhale, lift your pelvis slightly off the floor, and slide your hands, palms down, below your buttocks. Then, rest your buttocks on the backs of your hands. 

Step 2:

Inhale and press your forearms and elbows firmly against the floor. Next, press your shoulder blades into your back and, with an inhale, lift your upper torso and head away from the floor. Then, release your head back onto the floor. 

Step 3:

You can keep your knees bent or straighten your legs out onto the floor. 

Step 4:

Stay for 15 to 30 seconds, breathing smoothly. With an exhalation, lower your torso and head to the floor. Draw your thighs up into your belly and squeeze.

Benefits: 

Matsyasana is great for your core! It stretches and stimulates stomach muscles.

4. Chakrasana 

Wheel Pose 

Chakrasana is a great boost of energy! Image Courtesy of ArtofLiving. 

Instructions: 

Step 1:

Begin by lying face upward on the ground. Bend your knees and set your feet on the floor, heels as close to the sitting bones as possible. Bend your elbows and spread your palms on the floor beside your head, forearms relatively perpendicular to the floor, fingers pointing toward your shoulders.

Step 2:

Pressing your inner feet into the floor, exhale and push your tailbone up toward the pubis, firming the buttocks, and lift the buttocks off the floor. Keep your thighs and inner feet parallel. Take 2 or 3 breaths. Then, firmly press the inner hands into the floor and your shoulder blades against the back and lift up onto the crown of your head. Keep your arms parallel. Take 2 or 3 breaths once again.

Step 3:

Press your feet and hands into the floor, tailbone and shoulder blades against your back. With an exhalation, lift your head off the floor and straighten your arms. Turn the upper thighs slightly inward and firm the outer thighs. Narrow the hip points and lengthen the tailbone toward the backs of the knees, lifting the pubis toward the navel.

Step 4:

Turn the upper arms outward but keep the weight on the bases of the index fingers. Spread the shoulder blades across the back and let the head hang, or lift it slightly to look down at the floor.

Step 5:

Stay in the pose anywhere from 5 to 10 seconds or more, breathing easily. Repeat anywhere from 3 to 10 times.

Benefits: 

This pose, although a little lengthy in steps, is amazing for increasing energy levels and fighting off depression. 

5. Camatkarasana

Wild Thing 

Camatkarasana will open your upper and lower body. Image Courtesy of YogaTeket. 

Instructions: 

Step 1:

Start in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog).

Step 2:

Bring your weight into your right hand and roll onto the outer edge of your right foot.

Step 3:

On an inhalation, lift your hips with buoyancy. Stay strong in your right hand making a clawing action with the fingers. Keep the head of the right arm bone back. On an exhalation, step your left foot back and place your toes on the floor with your knee partially bent.

Step 4:

Curl back through your upper back to create a sweeping action of the shoulder blades into the back of the rib cage.

Step 5:

On an inhalation lift your hips higher until you curl more into a backbend with your right foot solid on the ground.

Step 6:

Keep breathing and curl your head back, extending your left arm from your heart and expressing your power and freedom.

Step 7:

Hold for 5-10 breaths, return to Downward Dog and repeat on the other side.

Benefits:

This pose is perfect for building strength in your shoulders and upper back! 

Each of these 5 yoga poses can activate different, but essential, parts of the body. In the process, they open up the heart chakra to new possibilities and a more love-filled life.

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Camille Adham

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