Beyond the flow of blood and the firing of neurons lies an entire non physical body, an entire being of energy and life force that you can’t measure or track, only feel. It envelops you and is even larger and fuller than the boundaries of your skin. This is our spiritual body, or some call it the energetic body. Within this invisible bubble lies seven spinning centers of energy called Chakras (CHA-KRA with a hard H sound).
Chakra: 1) A centre for the reception, assimilation and expression of life-force energies 2) any of the seven energy centres of the body; (1)
Starting at the pelvic floor and working their way up to the crown of the head in order:
- Root Chakra
- Sacral Chakra
- Solar plexus Chakra
- Heart Chakra
- Throat Chakra
- Third Eye Chakra
- Crown Chakra
Since we are in the month of February and with Valentine’s Day just passing, I will be primarily focusing on the Heart Chakra which is our energy center for gratitude, loving relationships and self love. When you enter into your Heart Chakra also known as Anahata Chakra the questions you ask yourself are; Am I engaging in fulfilling and balanced relationships? Do I feel compassion for myself and others around me? Do I love myself? It’s easy to let the days go by without taking a moment to stop and inquire as to how you are feeling and behaving as a result of your energy. When your Heart Chakra is out of balance you feel emotions like hate, anger, resentment, and guilt. Acting out of love will abolish these painful emotions.
Okay, let’s get down to earth. Whether or not you believe in energy fields or Chakras the bottom line is are you honestly living a life where you can tell yourself you love yourself? Truly and honestly. Do you wake up every day and feel glad that you are in the body you have with the life you’ve been given and surrounded by people who love you and respect you? If you aren’t than something has to change. Living a life of pain and sadness not only effects every living cell of your being to an eventual disease state but also effects the other cells you encounter. Have you ever walked into a room after two people have been arguing and you can feel harshness in the space? You know to get out of there because you can feel something wrong. Now imagine carrying around that uncomfortable space with you where ever you go and when people encounter you, they feel that too. This is what the Heart Chakra is all about, it’s just filling the space around you with positivity, and love.
Here are a few yoga poses that can help open your Heart Chakra:
Ustrasana- (Camel Pose)
Begin on your knees, hip distance apart, with your toes curled under. Stage one; bring your hands to prayer. As you push your hip bones forward, press your shoulders towards one another and slightly arch your spine first up and then back. The lift from your heart is essential here. Feel as if someone is lifting your heart up by a string towards the sky. Engaging your rhomboids between your shoulder blades will really support your spine. Stage two; as you lift your heart and arch your spine backwards use your hands to reach back for your ankles. Push your hips forward and heart lifts. Your head can drop back if that feels okay on your neck. Stage three; same as stage two except the tops of your feet are on the floor. Make sure you take 3 – 5 backbends with breaks in between then spend a few minutes in childs pose.
Urdhva Dhanurasana- Bridge pose
Begin laying flat on your back. Bring the soles of your feet on the mat, knees bent and feet hip distance apart. Make sure that your feet are close enough to your body that you can slightly tickle your ankles. On an inhale press firmly into your feet and lift your hips to the sky. Tuck your should blades together under your back and clasp your hands. If this feels okay, without losing the height in your hips place your palms on the mat above your shoulders with your fingers pointing TOWARDS your body. Your elbows should be pointing towards the sky and tucked inwards to keep the strength in your shoulders. On your next inhale press into your hands and lift onto the TOP OF THE HEAD ONLY. If this feels okay you can press all the way up until your arms are straight. This is full bridge pose. Take five deep inhales and exhales here and when you are ready tuck your chin in and SLOWLY come down onto your back.
After doing a few of these go into a forward fold either seated or standing as a counter post for your spine. Take a slightly bend in your knees to elongate your lower spine.
Urdhva mukha svanasana- Upward facing dog
Begin on your belly. Place your palms on the mat under your shoulders. Curl your toes under and as you press into your hands to lift your torso, push into your toes and roll onto the tops of your feet. Pressing firmly into your hands and the tops of the feet, your arms should be straight and your thighs should be lifted off the ground. Feel your hips sinking as the crown of the head lifts. Feel your shoulders engage and pull together behind your back as your chest opens. Breathe here. From here you can roll over your toes and come into downward facing dog.
At first it may seem silly, talking to yourself in the mirror or just writing down the same thing everyday but positive affirmations can really help to being positivity into your life. Every time you have a self degrading thought simply remind yourself to say something positive to yourself. Anytime during the day that something bad happens to go a mirror and say something kind and loving to yourself. If something good happens during the day say thank you to yourself. It may seem stupid at first but it will get easier and you will start feeling better and happier. Here are affirmations for your Heart Chakra:
- I am love
- I allow love. My heart is open.
- I focus on loving myself and others no matter what.
- I observe what’s around me and practice non-judgment.
- I am willing to love everything about myself.
- I trust in love.
- I feel compassion for myself.
- I feel compassion for others.
“It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.”
– Dalai Lama
With years of experience in holistic health, Madison is passionate about educating others in their desire for optimal wellness. After achieving a diploma in holistic nutrition, Madison went on to receive her 200hr yoga teacher training in Brazil. She has an eagerness to learn accompanied by a willingness to grow and develop personally.
- Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to the Chakra System by Anodea Judith