Often times in yoga, instructors may reference the term chakra. Chakras are energy centers in the body that are formed when different energy channels, called nadis, meet. There are seven main chakras in the human body that start from the base of the spine and move through the crown of the head. The fourth chakra, known as the Anahata Chakra, is the heart chakra, which is especially relevant this month.
The heart chakra is associated with love, compassion and truth. This chakra serves as an emotional center and is ignited by yoga poses that open up the front line of the body or chest. When the heart chakra is balanced, one can more easily connect to and feel joy, love and compassion.
To align and balance your heart chakra, here are three basic poses you can try:
Cow/Cat Pose: Begin in a table top position with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over your knees. On an inhale, draw your belly down toward the ground and at the same time, lift your chest and tailbone up. As you exhale, push into your palms and begin to round your spine. Draw your belly up and in and bring your chin in toward your chest. Repeat these postures moving breath to movement as many times as you’d like.
Cobra Pose: Start on your stomach and extend your legs behind you. Bring your legs all the way to touch and plant your palms beneath your shoulders. Press the tops of your feet into the mat and slowly begin to lift your chest off the ground. Keep your gaze down and maintain a long neck. Rest your palms lightly on the mat for support and continue to lift your chest up as you draw your sternum forward. Pull your shoulders out of your ears and extend through the crown of your head. Take a breath or two and then slowly lower back down.
Camel Pose: Kneel on the floor and bring your knees hip-width distance apart. Keep your shoulders stacked over your hips and bring your palms to your sacrum, just above your hips. Begin to lift your chest upward and draw your gaze across the ceiling. As you do so, continue to gently press your hips forward, squeeze your elbows toward one another and relax your shoulders down your back. Eventually, you may be able to take your hands to your heels and relax your head all the way back, however, one can get all the benefits of the posture by remaining upright and simply taking the chest and gaze up and back as far as is comfortable. Hold the position for a few breaths and then slowly move out the same way you moved in.
Do you have other favorite poses that open the front line of your body and balance your heart chakra? If so, share them with us on Facebook!