Crack Your Heart Open With These 7 Heart Opening Yoga Poses

Alissa Lastres
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What does it mean to live with an open heart? In yoga, we practice heart openers as a gateway to our vulnerabilities.
 
In heart opening yoga poses, we are exposed. Nothing stands between our hearts and the rest of the world—not our crossed arms, not our books or cellphones. It is an arms-wide-open stance, allowing our beating hearts to be, for a blissful moment, unguarded.
 
Today, think about your own heart. Has it been open or closed off? Have you been guarding it under lock and key? If so, then why?
 
Connect to your Heart Chakra and really sit with that awareness for a moment. The Heart Chakra is the energy center for love, compassion, and emotion in our bodies and in our lives.
 
A closed off Heart Chakra can result in an inability to love or be loved, an unwillingness to forgive or let go, and not being emotionally stable. The following yoga poses will open the heart and help to activate and balance the Heart Chakra.
 

Practice These 7 Yoga Poses to Open Your Heart and Activate the Heart Chakra:

As you prepare to practice these heart opening poses, let your mantra be “I live with an open heart.” Breathe it in and breathe it out. Allow your mantra to serve as your motivation through your practice to keep going, to keep holding the pose(s) just a little longer.
 

1. Half Camel Pose With Heart Chakra Hand Placement

Camel Pose
 
Half Camel Pose is a deep backbend for your upper back, and literally and metaphorically opens up your heart space. By bringing your hand to touch your Heart Chakra, you’re activating this opening even more!
 
How to Practice Half Camel Pose:

  • Kneel with your shoulders stacked over your hips and your hips stacked over your knees
  • Bring your palms, fingers facing down, to the tops of your glutes
  • Start to press your hips foward as you lean your heart back
  • Bring one hand to your Heart Chakra, with the option to grab your heel with your other hand for more intensity
  • To come out, activate your core and slowly re-stack your shoulders and hips

 
 

2. Wheel Pose

wheel pose
 
Wheel Pose develops mobility and flexibility in your spine and hip flexors as well as creating space in your heart.
 
How to Practice Wheel Pose:

  • Start on your back with your feet on your mat and knees to the sky
  • Bring your hands to your mat by your ears with your fingers facing your shoulders and elbows to the sky
  • On an inhale, press evenly into your hands and feet to push yourself up
  • Option to come to the balls of your feet for more intensity
  • To come out, tuck your chin towards your chest and slowly lower to your mat, your hips are the last thing to touch down

 
 

3. Bridge Pose

Bridge-Pose-yoga
 
Bridge Pose is a gentler variation of Wheel Pose and it begins to create flexibility and strength in your spine. This pose also lifts and opens your heart towards the sky.
 
How to Practice Bridge Pose:

  • Start on your back with your feet on your mat and knees to the sky
  • Bring your arms by your sides with your palms face-down by your hips
  • On an inhale, press into your feet to lift your hips toward the sky
  • Try to evenly distribute weight between your feet and the base of your shoulders, without putting too much pressure on your head and neck
  • For more intensity, interlace your fingers under you and squeeze your shoulder blades together
  • To come out, slowly lower your spine on an exhale

 

 

4. Warrior 1 Pose With Heart Opening Backbend

Arching-Warrior-Pose
 
Warrior 1 Pose strengthens your quads while creating flexibility in your hips. We’ll add a gentle backbend to this pose to tap into that Heart Chakra energy.
 
How to Practice Warrior 1 Pose With a Heart Opening Backbend:

  • Find a Warrior 1 stance with your front knee stacked over your front ankle and your back foot planted firmly down at about a 90-degree angle
  • Bring your hands to your low back, and slowly start to inch them down your back leg
  • As you do this, keep your hips moving forward as you allow your chest to lift up
  • Option to look up, adding a little Throat Chakra action as well

 
 

5. Upward Facing Dog Pose

Upward-Facing-Dog-pose
 
Upward Facing Dog strengthens and tones your arms while creating flexibility in your spine. It’s a great, gentle pose to practice if you spend a lot of time on a computer.
 
How to Practice Upward Facing Dog Pose:

  • Begin lying face down on your mat with the tops of your feet on your mat
  • Bring your palms directly under your shoulders and allow your elbows to point toward the sky
  • Press into your hands to lift your head, neck, and shoulders off the mat, then press into the tops of your feet to lift your quads off the mat as well
  • Keep your neck neutral by gazing forward

 
 

6. Reverse Plank Pose

Reverse-Plank-pose
 
Reverse Plank Pose strengthens your arms, legs, back, and core while opening your heart center up towards the sky.
 
How to Practice Reverse Plank Pose:

  • Begin seated on your mat with your legs extended
  • Bring your palms by your hips, fingertips facing your toes
  • Inhale to press into your hands and feet and lift your hips toward the sky
  • Option to bring your gaze behind you, opening your throat, for more intensity

 
 

7. Bow Pose

Bow-Pose-heart-opener
 
Bow Pose generates mobility in your spine as well as flexibility in your hip flexors.
 
How to Practice Bow Pose:

  • Begin lying face down on your mat with the tops of your feet on your mat and your palms by your hips
  • Bend your knees to bring your feet towards your glutes
  • Lift your head, neck, and shoulders as you simultaneously reach for your ankles, heels, or toes
  • Inhale to kick into your hands, deepening the expansion in your chest
  • When you’re ready, slowly release to your belly

 

Open Your Heart and Activate That Heart Chakra to Let All the Love In!

“I live with an open heart.” Think about what meaning this intention has for you and become aware of how it impacts your morning, your day, the next ten minutes…
 
When we live with an open heart, we accept people, we accept ourselves, and we dispose of hatred and negativity because we understand that it doesn’t serve us. We try to view the world through eyes of love, utilizing the power of both acceptance and forgiveness to fill our hearts with happiness and wholeness.
 
We recognize that this openness might bring with it the vulnerability to heartache. While that fact is intimidating, it does not prevent us from allowing love to radiate from within, welcoming the potential for pain with the knowledge that it will pass. THIS is what having an open heart chakra is all about.
 
When you open your heart, you open the door to infinite possibilities.
 

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Alissa Lastres

Alissa Lastres has a graduate degree in Mental Health Counseling. She practices yoga daily and loves writing about wellness because she feels that we all harbor so much power to create a life of happiness and love. She is inspired easily, thrives on new experiences, and believes traveling is good for the soul.

alissalastres.com

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