Let’s check in with your heart chakra. Are you putting up walls and feeling a lack of connection with people? Do you feel like you can love yourself? Or are you struggling to create healthy boundaries within your relationships? These are all signs of your heart chakra being unbalanced. In today’s yoga PDF, we will focus on opening the heart chakra to find some balance.
A chakra is sanskrit for “wheel” and is regularly depicted as spinning, colored wheels of energy. A chakra is an energy center in the body, with the major seven running along the length of the spine. The heart chakra is the fourth chakra from the base of the spine and is located, you guessed it, at the heart center.
The heart chakra is associated with the color emerald or green and all things related to love and compassion. This can be related to how we connect with others, but also how we are connected and in love with ourselves. It’s the main chakra for:
- Ability to love, compassion, kindness
- Love, joy, inner peace
- Self acceptance, love, and care
In today’s sequence, you will feel the heart chakra open and expand, filling you with love and compassion. Allow yourself to feel where to be sending that love, whether to people around you, foundations you’d like to give more to, or to yourself.
Connect with the Heart
Before diving into the yoga postures, take 1-2 minutes to sit in an easy posture that feels comfortable to you. Rub the palms together quickly, building heat and friction, then place both hands face down on your chest. Allow the eyes to close and feel the heat moving from the palms to your heart. Take this time to connect with the breath, feeling the chest expanding on the inhale and dropping on the exhale.
Take a moment to set your intention for opening the heart chakra and what you hope to gain from this practice.
Lord of the Fishes
Seated with both legs directly in front of you, bend into the right knee and place the right heel as close to the sitting bone as possible. Optional: Cross the right foot over to the outside of the left leg only if the entire tailbone remains on the floor. Extending the spine by lifting through the crown of the head, begin twisting over to the right side, bringing the right fingertips behind you. Bringing the left elbow to the outside of the right knee will allow you to press deeper into the twist. Optional: Look back over your right shoulder. The spine should stay tall throughout the twist, not allowing the chest to “dump” forward. Repeat on the other side.
Cow Face Pose
Start seated with your legs out in front, then bend your knees and put your feet on the floor. Slide your left foot under the right knee to the outside of the right hip. Then cross your right leg over the left, stacking the right knee on top of the left, and bring the right foot to the outside of the left hip. Reach the right hand high and then tuck the back of the hand on your upper back. Reach your left hand around to the lower back. The aim is to bring the fingers together for a bind, allowing the chest to open as the shoulder pull back. Optional: Use a yoga strap or belt to grip behind the back if the fingertips do not reach each other.
Start from standing on your knees, with the knees directly underneath the hips. Bring both hands to the lower back, with the fingertips wrapped forward towards the hips. Pull the shoulder blades together and open the chest towards the ceiling while pressing the front of the thighs and hips forward. Remain in this position if it is enough of a stretch for you, allowing the head to drop back if it feels okay on the neck. Option: Bring one or both hands down to the ankles, continuing to press the front of the legs forward. If you cannot easily breathe in this pose, you are going too far.
Extended Child’s Pose
From hands and knees, bring the big toes together and take the knees out as wide as the mat. Sit back onto the heels and walk the hands forward, bringing the forehead down onto the mat. Allow the belly to drop between the thighs and sink into the hips. Reach through the fingertips, but allow the shoulder blades to stay in place.
Downward Facing Dog
From hand and knees, place the knees directly underneath the hips and the feet hip distance apart. Hands should reach out in front of the shoulder with the fingers spread wide and the palms fully pressing into the floor. Lifting the knees off of the floor, reach the tailbone up towards the ceiling and straighten into the legs. Press the heels towards the floor and look up at the belly button, relaxing the tops of the shoulders.
From standing, step or jump your left foot back, about 3.5 to 4 feet apart. Reach both arms out to the side, actively reaching through the fingers with the palms facing downward. Turn the right foot towards the front of the mat and angle the left foot at ninety degrees. Bending into your right leg, try and get the thigh to be parallel with the ground and the knee directly stacked on top of the ankle. The left leg will remain straight and strong. Continuing to reach through the fingertips, pull the shoulder blades back and lift into the chest, gazing at your right fingertips. The torso should be stacked directly above the hips, not reaching forwards or backwards.
From Warrior II, reach into the front hand and lift the hand up overhead. At the same time, place the back hand on the top of the back thigh. Bend deeper into the front knee, keeping the back leg strong and straight. Keep the chest open by pulling the shoulders back and reaching the chest towards the ceiling. The gaze can float up to the lifted hand.
Standing Forward Fold
Start seated with both legs straight in front of you (staff pose), making sure to be seated up on the tailbone. On an inhale, reach both hands overhead and fold forward on the exhale. For an active pose, grab your feet or ankles and gently pull yourself forward throughout the pose. For a yin version, fall forward and release the hands, shoulders, and head, allowing yourself to simply hinge forward and hang there.
From tadasana, reach both hands overhead, reaching through the fingertips and keeping the shoulders down and away from the ears. Lift into the chest and lean back slightly into a backbend. The thighs and hips should continue to press forward and you bend back as far is is comfortable.
Stand at the front of the mat with the feet about hip distance apart. Spread the toes wide and press all four corners of the feet into the mat. Activate the legs, tuck the pelvis slightly under, and pull the bellybutton in towards the spine. Arms should be by your sides, palms facing forwards, allowing the shoulder blades to pull down and back, expanding the chest. The top of the head presses up towards the ceiling as the feet press into the floor, lengthening the spine.
From standing, shift all the body weight onto the right leg. Bend the left knee and bring the left foot up towards the tailbone. Reach the left hand back to grab either the outside of the left foot or ankle. Begin to lift the left foot up and back, away from the torso, and actively press into the left hand. The right hand should reach forward, parallel with the floor. Pull in the belly button and keep the hips aimed forward for stability.
Yogi Squat or Garland Pose
Start from standing in mountain pose. Step the feet wider than hip distance, turning the toes out and the heels in. Squat down and reach your tailbone as close to the floor as possible. Aim to keep your heels on the floor if possible, walking the feet further out or closer together to accomplish this. For balance, keep hands on the floor in front of you or on block. If balance, bring the hands to prayer at heart center and press the elbows into the knees to open the hips.
Start from seated position with your legs out straight in front of you. Bend into the knees and bring the souls of the feet together, allowing the knees to fall out to each side. Pull the heels as close to the pelvis as comfortable, keeping the hands wrapped around the ankles and lift your chest forwards. Hold here for a couple breaths. Then walk the fingers forwards and allow the head to drop, rounding into the back.
Lying on your back, bend the knees and place the feet on the floor, close to the tailbone and about hip distance apart. Place the hands palms down on both sides of the hips. On an exhale, lift the hips and the buttock up towards the ceiling. Try to keep the thighs parallel to the floor and roll the shoulder blades underneath. Option is the clasp the hands together below the lower back, continuing to pull the shoulder blades together.
Start lying on the back. Bend your knees into your chest and separate the feet and knees wide, holding on to the outer edges of the feet. Open your knees slightly wider than your torso, then bring them up toward your armpits. Rock side to side on the back, actively pulling the knees wide and towards the floor.
Start laying flat on the floor. Bend the knees and bring the feet onto the floor, as close to the tailbone as possible, keeping the knees hip distance apart. Bring the hands onto the mat just about the shoulders, fingertips pointed towards the shoulder tops. On an exhale, push the hips off the floor, actively pushing the tailbone towards the pubis, but keeping the buttock relaxed. Press firmly into the hands, lifting the the back and shoulder blades off the mat. Allow the head to drop and relax. Continue to actively press the feet and hands into the mat at the hips reach up and the chest lifts forward. To come down, lift the head out of the way and bend the arms, bringing the shoulders and back onto the mat. Bring the tailbone back on the mat and gently bring the knees into the chest.
*Repeat Happy Baby Pose
Savasana or Corpse Pose
Don’t skip this one! This may not seem like it, but it is the most difficult yoga pose that you can accomplish. Laying flat on your back, bring the arms to your side with the palms up, allowing the shoulders to roll back. Allow the toes to fall out to the side and tuck the chin in slightly to make sure the back of the neck is straight. Relax the body as much as you can and rest here for 3-5 minutes.
Ready to open up your heart space and invite in some more compassion with these yoga moves? Keep this routine nearby you by printing out this one page PDF.
Questions about the routine or how to get in touch with your heart chakra? Comment below and let’s keep the conversation going!