Five Asanas to Stimulate the Heart Chakra
An opened heart chakra allows you to better understand and meet your needs, and to give love to others. You may also find that intense emotions gradually become less frightening to you. You can develop new ways of accepting and moving past your emotions without having to repress them.
Indian philosophy states that there are seven main chakras in the body. The heart chakra is the fourth and is located behind the sternum – as you may have guessed, it is associated with feelings of love and compassion.
The following yoga asanas are designed to stimulate the heart chakra, and are great to practice when you feel in need of a pick-me-up. Before you begin these postures, you might like to move through a few rounds of sun salutations to warm the muscles and connect with your breath.
1. Salamba Bhujangasana (Sphinx Pose)
- To begin this heart chakra focused sequence, start by lying down on your belly.
- Bring your elbows directly underneath your shoulders.
- Allow the tops of the shoulders to relax away from the ears, shoulder blades sliding down your back as you feel a subtle lift in the front of your chest.
- Guide your breath towards your lower back and abdomen.
- To come out of the pose, bring your elbows to the sides, stacking palms on top of one another and rest your forehead over your hands.
2. Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)
- Begin lying down on your belly.
- Place your palms on the floor next to your chest, with fingertips in line with the front of your shoulders. Hug your elbows to your sides.
- Press your hands firmly into the floor and begin to lift your chest off the mat. You will notice engagement and activation of the muscles along your spine as you do this, helping develop strength in your lower back.
- Keeping your elbows drawn into your sides, actively press your shoulder blades towards one another. Broaden and expand your chest, pulling your upper chest forward and up, feeling it broadens and open with ease. Shoulders draw away from your ears. Your neck should feel long and your arms stable and grounded.
- Continue to emphasise the length of your neck by lifting the base of your skull away from your shoulders.
- When you are ready to come down, slowly lower yourself to the floor and take rest.
3. Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
- Begin in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), and step your right foot forward between your hands, aligning the right knee over the heel.
- Then, lower your left knee to the floor and, keeping the right knee fixed in place, slide the left knee back until you feel a comfortable stretch in the left front thigh hip flexor.
- Draw the tailbone down toward the floor and lift your pubic bone toward your navel.
- Slowly lift your chest and arms to frame your head. Keep the shoulders relaxed and the shoulder blades drawing together on your back.
- Lift your gaze, being careful not to jam the back of your neck and take around five rounds of breaths before switching to the other side.
4. High Lunge (with thumbs hooked overhead)
- Begin in Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), and step your right foot forward between your hands.
- Stay on the ball of the back left foot, stack the right knee over the ankle at a 90 degree angle, and begin to raise the upper body toward the ceiling, with your shoulders over the hips.
- Reach both arms overhead and hook the thumbs.
- Take your drishti (gaze) to the thumbs and start to reach up first and then back as you move into a backbend. It is important to keep the pelvic floor lifting, belly button drawing in, and the legs firm as the foundation of the pose, which will allow for a deeper backbend.
- Hold for five breaths. Come back to centre and release hands to the floor, stepping back in Downward-Facing Dog. Repeat on the other side.
5. Natarajasana (Dancers Pose)
- Start in Tadasana (mountain pose) at the top of your mat.
- Inhale, shift your weight onto your right foot, press the head of your right thigh bone back, deep into the hip joint, and pull the knee cap up to keep the standing leg straight and strong.
- Begin to lift your left foot off the mat and bring it toward your left glute, taking hold of the inside of your foot with your left hand.
- Stretch your right arm up in line with your ear.
- Begin to press your left foot into your left hand and, as you do so, begin to lean the torso forward and stretch your right arm forward, in front of your torso, parallel to the floor.
- Stay here for 20-30 seconds.
- To come out of this pose, release the grasp on the foot, place the left foot back onto the floor, and repeat for the same length of time on the other side.
Once you have completed this series of yoga asanas, allow your body to rest in savasana or sit in meditation for at least five minutes. These heart chakra focused postures are always here for you to return to, whenever you need to boost your energy and lift your mood.
Louise Gordon is a yoga teacher and an experienced brand manager and creative producer. She is a certified vinyasa yoga teacher and also collaborates and consults wellbeing and lifestyle brands. Follow her on Instagram