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Yoga to Open your Heart and Boost your Confidence

Yoga to Open your Heart and Boost your Confidence

Heart opening postures can create confidence and freedom, making us more receptive to the world. Slumping forward shows weakness and submission, while opening the chest represents courage and determination.

 Many of us spend hours sitting at a desk, bending forward over a keyboard and making the spine round. This lifestyle collapses our chest and causes back pain making heart opening extremely important.

Opening the chest often incorporates the thoracic spine, which is basically the mid-spine region. Utilising this part of the spine is very beneficial as many of us have a much more flexible lumbar or lower spine region and often rely on the lumbar for movement and strength.

When the heart is open our heart chakra, or Anahata, is activated. Anahata translates to ‘unstuck or unhurt’. Therefore out heart chakra relates to the ability to look beneath our suffering and pain, into boundless love and compassion. It said that when Anahata is flowing we have high feelings of self-love, altruism, generosity, kindness, and respect. It relates to having a sense of ‘we’ instead of a sense of ‘I’. 

Opening the heart and strengthening the spine can be initiated through the following asanas. It is important when moving through these heart openers to focus on keeping the chest and upper back open. When you are comfortable in the position try breathing into your chest to feel a further expansion and opening.

 

Bhujangasana/Cobra Pose

Bhujangasana cobra pose yoga asana

How to:

  • Lay on your stomach with your toes pointing back
  • Engage your legs and roll your thighs inwards, heels pointing upwards
  • As you inhale begin to lift your chest forwards and upwards, pressing the feet actively into the floor
  • Take your hands out in front either with the fingertips to the floor or the palms flat
  • When you are as high as you can go without using your hands, start to put some weight into your hands
  • Make the action of pulling with your hands as though your chest will move forward and up, resist using your hands to push on the floor
  • Keep your chest very open and lower back long, if it feels ok to look upwards do so but keep the back of the neck long. Bring the side ribs forward and upper arms back. Elbows point backwards, not to the side
  • Hold for 5-10 deep breaths
  • As you exhale slowly release your body back to the floor

 

Tips for beginners:

  • Keep your elbows bent, only go as much as you need
  • Take the feet wider apart to create space for your lower back

 

Ustrasana/Camel Pose

Ustrasana camel pose asana yoga

How to:

  • Come to a high kneeling position, feet hip distance apart, top of the toes flat on the floor. Place your hands on your lower back, fingers pointing downwards
  • Start to move your hips forward, engaging your quadriceps as much as you can
  • As you exhale, lift your chest upwards, draw your elbows and shoulder blades back towards each other
  • Keep your neck comfortable by either looking forward, upwards or backwards
  • Continue to open your chest upwards and backwards, do not let your ribs flare or your lower back compress
  • One hand at time take your hands to your heels, maintain the integrity of your lower spine, keep your chest lifting
  • Hold for 5-10 deep breaths
  • As you inhale, one at a time take the hands back to your lower back as you come up to a neutral position
  • Sit back on your heels and come back to your natural breath rhythm
  • For a stronger version practice this asana with toes untucked

 

Beginners tip

  • If it is too strong to bring the hands to your heels keep them on your lower back, or tuck the toes under so the heels are high
  • If you have sensitive knees place a blanket underneath your knees

 

Marjariasana and Bitilasana or Cat and Cow Pose

Cat pose yoga asana 

How to:

  • Start in table top position with the shoulders over the wrists and knees underneath the hips
  • As you inhale lift your tailbone towards the sky, draw your shoulder blades back, lift your chest, if it feels ok lift your chin
  • As you exhale curl your tailbone towards your navel, draw your shoulder blades forward without crowding your ears and tuck your chin in to your throat
  • This is one round, repeat 5 – 10 rounds
  • As you continue you may bend the elbows to create a scooping action as you move

Beginners tip:

  • If you have sensitive knees place a blanket underneath your knees
  • If you have sensitive wrists come down to your forearms or onto your knuckles

Are you looking for more ways to balance your Chakras or energy? If so check out our article '7 Steps to Powering Up Your 7 Chakras - How to Open Up Your Chakras'.

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