The day of love is fast approaching, and the pressure is on to splash the cash on gifts and cards for our loved ones. Whilst love is what makes the world go round, self-love is arguably the most important love that exists. So why not focus on you this Valentine’s Day and work on what’s most important, your heart chakra!
The heart chakra, or ‘Anahata’ in its original Sanskrit name, is driven by the principles of transformation and integration. It is the fourth energy centre and is believed to bridge earthly and spiritual aspirations. Anahata is about embracing life with an open heart and having a healthy relationship with oneself and others.
The Anahata chakra is associated with unconditional love, compassion, grief, self-care and joy.
Practicing certain yoga positions is one of the best ways to keep the Anahata chakra balanced. In addition, meditating on the Anahata chakra calms the mind, promotes mental stability and the capacity to love selflessly.
Here we explore five yoga positions which help maintain balance within the Anahata Chakra, all benefitting the heart as well as other areas of your body and mind.
Upavista Konasana with Gomukasana arms
How to: Simply, sit on the floor with your legs parted, lift one arm and bend behind your back to hold the other hand. Hold in this position before swapping the arms over. If you struggle, you can sit on a block (cushion, books etc.) and bend the knees slightly. If holding your arms in place proves difficult, you can use a strap, or similar, as an extension.
Benefits: Many people tend to hold tension in their upper arms and shoulders, becoming rigid when this energy centre is deficient. Upavista Konasana allows us to stretch the legs, hips, chest, arms and shoulders, opening them and releasing tension.
Yoga Chest Opener
How to: Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Using your hands flat to support you, lean back and stretch your back allowing It to arch slightly. Ensure your head is kept in line with your torso.
Benefits: This position helps to open the chest region and release tension from the rib cage and diaphragm. Be sure to breathe deeply whilst you hold this position.
Pruvottanasana (Upward Plank)
How to: Begin with the knees bent and your hands on the floor just behind the hips. Exhale and lift your hips then straighten one leg at a time whilst keeping your hips and chest lifted.
Benefits: The upward plank position stretches the shoulders, arms, upper back, legs, glutes, wrists and abdomen.
Om Hrim kneel and chant
How to: Enter a kneeling position and ensure you are comfortable and can remain in position for several minutes. Keep eyes closed and hold hands over heart whilst you focus on your breathing and essence of the mantra. Chant ‘Om Hrim’ for several rounds before sitting in contemplation for a few minutes. A positive affirmation to go with this chant may be “ I bow to the hearts energy of transformation to give and receive love and its capacity to transform the world”.
Benefits: The chant helps to calm busy minds. ‘Om hrim’ is the essence of the heart that helps to purify it by opening it to compassion.
Anjaneyasana (Low lunge variation)
How to: From the downward dog position, step the right food forward and place the left knee down. Ensure your hips stay in line as you extend the chest and torso, reaching the arms up. Lift the lower belly and draw your shoulder blades towards one another. Hold here for 3-5 breaths, before alternating legs.
Benefits: Whilst holding this position, you will stretch the groin, thighs and chest.
You can use this sequence of heart openers to tune into your anahata and inner voice and find the path to your hearts calling.
To practice yoga with Tranquillité, in person view a full list of workshops and retreats here.