Whether you love it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day is upon us. While the day may have long-ago been co-opted by greeting card companies, chocolatiers, and florists (Big Valentine…?), it can still be a great reminder to check in with our own hearts and practice self-love.
In the chakra system, the heart chakra-or anahata chakra- is the fourth chakra and is located right near your heart in the center of your chest. Represented by the color green, it is also associated with the element of air and scents of jasmine, lavender, and rose. Taking a mudra (symbolic hand shape) over your heart chakra is a great way to access this subtle energy. A simple mudra such as anjali mudra (shown above), held over your heart and paired with an affirmation, can be a great way to acknowledge this place in us. Affirmations could be “I am open to receiving love and kindness,” or “all love resides in my heart.”
Reclined bound angle pose
Practicing heart opening yoga poses is another way to stimulate your fourth chakra.
A restorative option is a variation of reclined bound angle pose. Take a bolster if you have it, or else a folded blanket or two, and lay on them so that the bottom comes to just above where your sacrum starts. Open your arms wide to either side. If this is too intense, feel free to bend at the elbows or adjust how wide your arms are. Draw the soles of your feet together to touch. The closer you bring your feet towards your pelvis, the more intense the stretch will be; to lessen it, bring your feet out further from you. Close your eyes, and stay for as long as it serves you, up to several minutes.
A modified camel pose is a more energetic way to bring spaciousness to this area. Begin by coming up on to your knees. Bring your hands to your low back with fingertips pointed down towards your sacrum, shoulders drawing in and down your back. Tuck your tailbone slightly and draw your navel towards your spine to engage your core muscles. As you inhale, draw the crown of your head up to lengthen your spine, and begin to open your chest upward. Press your hands into your sacrum for stability, while keeping your hips pressing forwards and inner thighs engaged. Take 3-5 breaths here, and when complete sit back on your heels and rest for several breaths.
Try one of these or all three to acknowledge the importance of love in your life and for yourself. What’s your favorite heart opener? Let us know in the comments!