3 Yoga Practices To Open Your Heart
The great spiritual teachers and sages taught that true wisdom comes from the heart. When you become truly wise, you live your life by the guidance of your heart. Most of us have been conditioned to believe our thoughts and lead a life of the mind. But the more we meditate and the more we explore the heart-centered teachings of yoga, the more we realize that our thoughts come and go, and should be used as a creative tool for good, while our heart is brimming with innate wisdom, truth and goodness. It’s the organ we can truly rely upon, especially in times when we are searching for answers.
Even Western science has come to the conclusion that the heart has more intelligence and intuition than the head. (Check out compelling research from the Heartmath Institute to explore these studies further.) Relying upon our hearts for guidance is one of the best ways we can lead a spiritual life- one that’s freer from the mental states of fear, worry, anxiety, anger and resentment– all attributes of the small, ego-mind. To live our lives in present, heart-centered awareness is true freedom.When we awaken (even if for mere moments) to heart-centered living, we realize that we contain everything that is Divine.
“Expressions of our hearts are expressions of our souls because the heart is working in direct communion with the soul.”
We can create much happier lives when we remember this one powerful statement.
Certain yoga practices and poses support our heart’s opening.
Backbends open up the front body and space around the heart while heart-themed guided meditations help us to drop into our heart centers. Even mudras and different breathing techniques support our journey from the head to the heart. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
We can cultivate our Anahata (heart chakra) by simply breathing into the heart. It is believed that the breath is deeply connected to the heart center and all the organs that surround it.
Take a moment each day to cultivate your own heart-centered awareness by simply closing the eyes and imagine your breath coming in and out of the heart. As you do this, you might wish to incorporate a visualization to help you connect to your heart. For example, imagine your heart opening and softening as you breathe deeply.
Bring in a mantra as you do this. “I am open to love,” you might recite as you take the breath in and out of the heart. “I give love freely and without conditions,” is another powerful one to recite to yourself daily. Choose a mantra that resonates with you and simply repeat it as you breathe in and out of the heart for a few minutes each day.
Backbends strengthen and open the muscles and connective tissues that surround the heart chakra. Choose your favorite back bending pose and commit to practicing it for a few minutes every day. Camel pose, upward facing dog, bow pose, bridge pose, and wheel pose are all effective asanas for opening the heart chakra.
Anjali mudra is one of the most powerful mudras for really getting centered within the heart. Anjali Mudra happens when we place our hands in prayer, when we say “Namaste,” It feels so natural and simple to rest our hands in Anjali mudra. Take a moment to sit quietly with the eyes closed and your hands in Anjali mudra. Think about all the people and things you are grateful for and really savor the pleasure this thought brings you. Feel the love you have for them radiating from your heart. Feel into this space and breathe for several minutes.