By opening the heart chakra you will instantly increase your self respect. You will open yourself up to 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/or dependence on others for your happiness can be some of the causes.
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 4 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 breathe into the posture then together once your in the asana. Hold for 3-5 breaths then take a moment in Balasana (child's pose).
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 big toes together and zip all the way up your legs engaging the gluts. Keeping your elbows close to your side using your arms to press the mat away keeping your shoulders out of your ears. Hold here for 6-10 breaths then, again, relax in your child's pose.
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, gently contracting the gluts. 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. On the inhale offer up your heart center while tilting your tailbone up towards the ceiling and lifting your gaze. Take this flow as much as you like!
Supta Baddha Konasana (Supine Bound Angle) For this one I love using a block in between the shoulder blades 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 sitting bones off the floor so your spine can relax on your mat. Take as much time here as you like, envision the color green as you feel the expansion, freedom and growth of a open heart chakra.
Heidi Templeton is a Tampa Bay Area yoga instructor. When she’s not practicing asana, you can find her in the kitchen cooking up vegan dishes. Heidi is sharing her love for all things health and wellness on Facebook.