Saturday, August 22, 2015

Chakra Series - Yin Yoga - Heart Chakra

This practice consists of a lot of back bends and arm and shoulder work

The Fourth Chakra is sometimes called the Heart Chakra. It is located along your spine right in the center of your chest next to your physical heart. It deals with issues of love, compassion and belonging and is weakened by all forms of grief, clinging and loneliness. Physically, it supports your heart, lungs, upper torso, shoulders, arms and hands. Green is the color of the heart chakra.

Visualization: Visualize a strong, clear green light filling up your heart center—located in the center of your sternum and below your shoulder blades.

Breathwork: Silent Breath

Sanskrit name is Anahata which means unstruck. Anahata is associated with air. If you’ve worked with the other chakras, you can integrate all of the elements to support this work. The first chakra is earth, steady and grounded; the second chakra, water, brings a fertile creativity; the third chakra is the “fire in the belly” required to transform that grounded creativity into positive action. And now you have air dispersing and integrating spiritual understanding of love, compassion, and connection to everything you encounter. Air, like love, is within and all around.

Benefits: Opens the hips and groin, creates flexibility in the knees, strengthens the inner thighs, stimulates the digestive system and assists with elimination

Contraindications: Groin or knee injury: Only perform this pose with blanket supports under the outer thighs

Symbolism:The butterfly unquestioningly embraces the chances of her environment and her body.

Breathwork: Left Nostril Breathing .

The Fourth Chakra lies directly in the middle position of the seven-chakra ladder with three below and three above. The three lower chakras are sometimes called the body chakras, and the three upper chakras are sometimes called the mind chakras. The heart chakra is what links body and mind together. It facilitates the balance of emotion with logic and the real with the ideal

Benefits:A traditional text that Matsyasana is the “destroyer of all diseases.Stretches the deep hip flexors (psoas) and the muscles (intercostals) between the ribs. Stretches and stimulates the muscles of the belly and front of the neck. Stretches and stimulates the organs of the belly and throat. Strengthens the muscles of the upper back and back of the neck. Improves posture.  

Contra-indications: High or low blood pressure. Migraine. Insomnia. Serious lower-back or neck injury

Symbolism: Fertility. Eternity. Happiness. Knowledge. Transformation

Breathwork: Breathe green. With each inhale imagine your heart center—and possibly the rest of your body—filling up with a soft, green light and with every exhale feel your heart center purge pent-up negativity. Don’t be too forceful on your exhalations. Rather, focus more energy on your positive, “green” inhalation

CHILD POSE'S (baby yourself, take care of yourself)
The heart chakra is located in the center of the chest at the heart. Physically, the Heart chakra controls the heart, thymus,  lungs, circulatory system, arms, hands. The ruling goddess is Kakini Shakti, who synchronizes our heartbeat with the universe and the ruling god is Isvara, who assists us in bonding with the world.  The ruling planet is Venus.

Modifications: If you have difficulty sitting on your heels in this pose, place a thickly folded blanket between your back thighs and calves.Gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles

Benefits: Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue. Relieves back and neck pain when done with head and torso supported

Contra-indications: Diarrhea. Pregnancy. Knee injury: Avoid Balasana unless you have the supervision of an experienced teacher.

MELTING HEART (about being open to love)
The sanskrit name for the chakra is Anahata which means “unbeaten” or “unbroken”. At this chakra is a non-physical sound which continues without beginning or end.  The symbol of the heart chakra is a twelve petalled lotus with two intersecting triangles inside the create a six-pointed star.  Written inside the mandala is the seed sound YAM.  The antelope is the associated animal and carrier of the bija mantra. The antelope represents the passion and joy of being alive

Benefits: A nice backbend for the upper and middle back. Will also open shoulders. Softens the heart.

If you have a bad neck, this could strain it. Be aware of any tingling in the hands or fingers! This is often a sign that a nerve is being compressed, and if we continue to compress it we may permanently damage it. If you feel tingling, adjust the arm and hand positions, or skip the pose entirely.

Symbolism: Giving in.  Letting Go.  Being Open

Breathwork:  Inhale and Exhale YAM

CAT COW - as a transition pose


Benefits: Gently compresses the muscles of your upper chest. Opens the upper and outer muscles of your shoulder.. Detoxifies and calms your body with the slight twist. Sends fresh blood to your upper extremities.

Contraindications: Avoid if you have any serious shoulder or neck injuries. Anyone with back or hip conditions should take care not to overdo the twist

Symbolism: Turning to the archetypal meaning of the thread, it symbolizes the agent that links all states of being to one another. Threading a needle is the symbol of passing through the center, the target, the gateway.  Also mending something as opposed to throwing it out 

Metaphorically, the fourth is the center of our deepest bonds with other beings, our sense of caring and kindness and respect, which begin with feelings of self-love, and branches out to altruism, generosity, and compassion.

Breathwork; Ujjayi

Twisted Roots Arms
An integrating and unifying chakra - bringing our inner world to wholeness, as well as connecting us to the outer world - the Heart chakra is the source of our healing abilities. Indeed, most spiritual traditions recognize love as the ultimate healing force.

there is a dot of Yang in Yin and a drop of Yin in Yang

Plank (possibility to go to your knees)
The energy of the Heart Chakra allows us to recognize that we are a part of something greater than ourselves.  The shadow of this chakra is often depression, loneliness and grief, which all indicate dis-ease in the heart.

Forearm Plank (option to go to your knees)
This is where peace and harmony are born.  When people feel at peace around us, free from judgment, we experience the world as a kinder, more gentle place. When our hearts are open and energy is flowing freely, we not only express love to others, we are also loving ourselves.

Side Plank
The Heart Chakra is the point of balance between the mind, body, and spirit and thus symbolically between Heaven and Earth.

SPHINX (keeping your strength)
In Anahata one makes decisions ("follows one's heart") based on one's higher self, not the unfulfilled emotions and desires of lower nature. As such, it is known as the heart chakra. It is also associated with love and compassion, charity to others and psychic healing. Meditation on this chakra is said to bring about the following siddhis: he becomes a lord of speech; he is dear to women; his presence controls the senses of others, and he can leave and enter the body at will.

Interestingly, the message of this chakra is often one of paradoxes: through humility, we find our power; through discipline, we find liberation; by cleansing the physical body, we become more mentally clear and attuned.


Benefits:  Deep compression and stimulation of sacral lumbar arch. Stimulates the door of lide. Tones the spine. In Seal stomache gets a great stretch.

Contra-indications: Bad back or tight sacrum problems. Pregnant use bolsters and don't put belly on floor

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Symbolism:Sphinx - Power, Watching Over. Seal - Being Comfortable in your own skin


A) Arms over head to Backbend

A) arms behind the back fingers interlaced to humble warrior

B) twist

C)bind or half bind
Element of the chakra is Air so reminder to breath when working this chakra

CAMEL  (being prepared and ready for love)
Backbends help to balance Anahata by physically creating more openness in the heart. An integrating and unifying chakra - bringing our inner world to wholeness, as well as connecting us to the outer world - the Heart chakra is the source of our healing abilities. Indeed, most spiritual traditions recognize love as the ultimate healing force.

Benefits: Deeply arches the sacral/lumbar spine and opens the top of the things.  Opens the ankles.  Stretches hip flexors and opens the shoulders.  Great for dropping shoulder or hunched backs

Contra-indications:  Those with weak backs should do gentle variation.  If you have neck issues don't drop the head back keep chin to chest.

Symbolism:Endurance.Transport. Protection. Survival. Conservation. Journeying. Stamina.


A healthy Heart chakra means living with loving kindness and compassion towards others. When we live with a heart that is open to others and inspire kindness and compassion in others, others can feel our love and warmth. They feel loved and accepted unconditionally.

The Heart Chakra is the home of emotional processing. In a sense, the Heart Chakra is all about agape (selfless love) and compassion. The heart processes our emotions for us. We grieve and mourn and equally celebrate and laugh uproariously, from the heart. We say, “It feels good to get that off of my chest.” Get it?

Benefits:A vigorous way to open the hips, allowing gravity to do the work. Strong external rotation of front hip (especially in the image shown ). Provides the quadriceps and hip flexors a nice stretch for the side that has the leg back. A moderate to strong backbend, compressing the lower back. Can control sexual desires due to lots of blood flowing through the pubic region 

Contra-indications: If you have bad knees (especially any problems with the inner meniscus), watch the pressure. If hips are too tight, that is where the pressure will go. If this happens, bring the front foot back, more toward or under that hip.

Alternatives & Options (Swan): To protect the front knee, keep the foot flexed before coming forward. Keep the weight back into the hips as you lower yourself. Stay on the hands with the arms straight, or come on to the elbows.You could lie on a bolster placed lengthwise under the chest.If you're really flexible, try to bring the front foot forward, pull the bent knee more to the side, and lay your chest on top of the shin. Other alternatives include Eye-of-the-Needle (can be done lying down, while sitting, or with one leg against the wall), Shoelace, or Square Pose.

Signs Your Fourth Chakra is Weak:

You are often guarded and closed and never or rarely allow yourself to open up to others and be authentic for fear of being hurt or rejected.

You are unable to let a situation rest because it didn’t go your way, until you have assigned fault to all you see as responsible. You assign negative motive to everyone whose actions impact you, judging their actions as intentional.

Benefits: Stretches the thighs, hamstrings, groins. Stimulates the abdominal organs.

Contraindications: Groin or hamstring injuries

Your relationships are characterized by your tendency to be clingy and needy, anxious that your partner doesn’t need you as much as you need them.

Benefits: Hip opening and decompression for the lower spine when folding forward

Contra-indications: If you have sciatica, elevate the hips by sitting on a prop until the knees are below them. People with lower back disorders which do not allow flexion of the spine should not allow the spine to round: keep the back as straight as you can. Pregnant women should not fold forward after the first trimester.

Alternatives & Options: If hips are tight, sit on a bolster to tilt them forward.
If the bottom knee complains, do the pose with the bottom leg straight. If the top knee complains, place a bolster or blanket under that knee. If this is still too hard, sit cross-legged and fold forward.Support the chest with bolster. Other alternatives include Eye-of-the-Needle Pose, Square Pose, or Swan.

Your expressions of love for another person are conditioned upon them conforming to your expectations of how they should be. As long as they do, all is well. As soon as they don’t, you get upset or offended and react with aggressive or passive aggressive moves to try to manipulate them back into behaving conforming to your expectations. You see a need to try to fix other people and often try to do so.
Benefits: A good stretch for the inner thighs, groins and knees, improving flexibility in the groin and hip region. Helps in intestine and bowel movement
Removes fatigue from long hours of standing and walking. Offers relief from menstrual discomfort and menopause symptoms. Helps in smooth delivery if practiced regularly until late pregnancy

Contraindications: If you are suffering from groin or knee injury, make sure you keep a blanket under the outer thighs for support. Do not perform this pose without blanket support. Also, sciatica patients should either completely avoid the pose or sit on a cushion to raise the hips. If you have any lower-back disorders, do the posture only while keeping the spine erect. Avoid rounding up the spine by bending forward.

Breathwork: Surya Bhendi

½ GENIE/ GENIE  or 2nd SPHINX (too difficult then sphinx pose) - 3 to 5 minutes
You experience any of the following physical symptoms on a frequent or chronic basis:  heart disorders, chest pain, asthma, allergies, pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, breast lumps/cysts, circulation problems, tension/pain between the shoulder blades, shoulder, arm or hand problems or carpal tunnel.


Symbolism: Magic, power of wish fufillment

Benefits:A deep opening in the sacral-lumbar arch. Stretches hips flexors and quadriceps

Contra-indications:If you have a bad back or tight sacroiliac (SI) joints
Knees can be tested too much here. Ankles can protest. Any sharp or burning pain here, you must come out!

Alternatives & Options: Sphinx pose. 1/2  Half Saddle. If you can only go as far back as your elbows, rest on a bolster to relax here.  Arms overhead can open the shoulders and intensify the stretch in the hip flexors.Lift the hips even higher by placing a block between the feet and under the buttocks.A blanket or rolled up towel under the ankles can relieve pressure there.
Play with sitting on the heels and between the heels; the first emphasizes the lumbar more, and the second works the quads and hip flexors more.

HALF LORD OF THE FISHES or MARICHI ASANA - 2 to 5 minutes each side
Ways to begin to open your heart.
Be green. Get out in nature. Let the varying greens surround you—and begin to heal you.

Be love. Being a martyr is a sign of imbalance for this chakra. Allow yourself to be loved—including, and most especially, by yourself.

Opening the heart chakra after a period of grief or personal struggle is not easy. Be patient and kind to yourself during the process. Letting go of what we don’t need to carry allows us to make room for new and better life opportunities, and learning to embrace and love yourself—for better or for worse—is a great place to begin

Benefits: Stimulates the liver and kidneys. Stretches the shoulders, hips, and neck. Energizes the spine.Stimulates the digestive fire in the belly. Relieves menstrual discomfort, fatigue, sciatica, and backache. Therapeutic for asthma and infertility. Traditional texts say that Ardha Matsyendrasana increases appetite, destroys most deadly diseases, and awakens kundalini.

Contra-indications: Back or Spine Injury

Breathwork: Ujjayi

Symbolism: Being a great student and a great listener


Give love. One of the best and easiest ways to cleanse and balance this chakra is by loving others unconditionally and unselfishly.

Realize the grass isn’t always greener. It’s often human nature to naysay. Resist the urge to find fault in everything. Be thankful for what you already have.

Practice yoga.

Forgive. A lot of blockages in this chakra are fostered by not letting go of past hurts, anger, grief, regret, etc. Let go. Take care of yourself and try to also remember that when each door closes a new one opens.


  1. Fabulous post. I am not sure why it took me so long to discover you and your website. Thank you.

  2. Thank you so much you are too kind


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