Yoga Sequences for the Chakras: The Fourth Chakra

The heart chakra. Need I say more?

Okay, fine, I'll say a little bit more. At the center of the chakra system, the heart provides balance between the earth-bound and more spiritual chakras. Balance is helped by pranayama, meditation, heart-opening stretches, and poses that bring flexibility to the thoracic part of the spine. 

Here's a sequence to help create more openness around your heart. Remember: "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."

  1. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)  
  2. Metta meditation. Meditate thoughts of loving kindess towards self and others. Dedicate your practice to someone else 
  3. Taking hands to knee, open chest in slight backbend. Exhale, cave chest backwards. Move with the breath 
  4. One hand above head, other to floor. Stretch arm above head and over for side stretch. Repeat other side 
  5. Move between alternating side stretches 
  6. Cat/cow in table pose 
  7. Knee-down Tadasana (Mountain Pose) 
  8. Parighasana (Gate Pose). Stretch alternating sides of the torso (like step 4): first time, grounding arm is on outstretched leg, for the other side the grounding arm is on ground next to bent leg Note: If this makes no sense, let me know and I'll try and find time to add pictures 
  9. Move between alternating side stretches 
  10. Repeat steps 7-9 with other leg 
  11. One armed Ustrasana (Camel Pose). One arm in air, one grounding on foot, shin, or on lower back (whatever version you practice) 
  12. Repeat other side 
  13. Ustrasana. Imagine the chest lifting with each breath, the heart pressing towards the ceiling 
  14. Sarvangasana (Rabbit Pose) 
  15. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog). Press the heart forward here, too, as you open the chest 
  16. Tadasana 
  17. Warrior lunges: from Tadasana step forward into Virabhadrasana I, hold for a complete breath, and step back to Tadasana. On next step, come forward with opposite leg 
  18. Repeat 10-16x 
  19. Pause in Virabhadrasana I 
  20. Interlock hands behind back for gentle chest opener 
  21. Repeat steps 19 and 20 with other leg 
  22. Sun Saluations 4-6x. Feel as though the heart is literally leading you through each posture into the next. The upper chest is the first point of movement. 
  23. Vinyasa to floor 
  24. Paripurna Navasana (Upward Boat Pose) 
  25. Ardha Navasana (Half Boat Pose) 
  26. Upavishta Konasana (Seated Wide Angle Pose) 
  27. Matsyendrasana (Seated Twist Pose), repeat other side 
  28. Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose) 
  29. Either repeat Setu Bandhasana or move into Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow Pose)
  30. Savasana

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