Hello sweet yogis! This month we will be exploring the beautiful heart chakra together in our yoga practice. Before we begin to dive into all that this chakra is and represents, let’s first review the chakras we have already worked through.
We started out with our Root Chakra which has to do with our most basic instincts, our sense of safety and security as well as being grounded. We built off of that by exploring our sacral chakra which houses our emotions, creativity, sexuality and the basic ability to enjoy things. Last month we worked on our Solar plexus chakra which relates to our willpower, ambition, determinations and our ‘inner fire’ if you will. So now that you’ve had a quick recap of the past three months, lets get into all the details for your heart chakra. (Please note: You can back and view previous posts for a more in depth explanation of each chakra under the ZEN tab).
The heart chakra is probably one of the most talked about chakras in yoga culture. Every time your doing a back bend, your opening up through your heart chakra. As you probably already guessed, this chakra resides in your chest and is associated with the color green. This chakra has to do with love, the love that we offer ourselves and the love that we extend to others. When this chakra is depleted or under active, you might feel unloved, lonely, fearful of getting hurt and judgmental. When it’s balanced, you have a deep sense that you are unconditionally loved and you extend that love to yourself and others. Physically, you might have chest pain, difficulty breathing, upper back pain or circulation problems if your heart chakra is out of alignment.
All of my classes this month will revolve around opening up through the heart by strengthening your back and core with back bends and side bends. We also will practice breathing exercises that will help to connect you with your heart center. Ultimately, I want the focus of this month to be on first showing love and care to yourself. In our fast paced culture, self care is often something we do only ‘if we have time after everything else’. Showing up to yoga class is a form of self care in and of itself. But it doesn’t have to end there. You can also show love to yourself by treating your body with respect on and off the mat. This might mean not doing a pose that hurts you or it might mean giving yourself a few extra breaths in savasana when needed. You can show yourself love by keeping your self talk positive and kind through out the day (this is something I am currently working on- it’s much easier said than done). There’s a million ways to show yourself some love and care that aren’t even yoga so I encourage you to focus on finding at least one way you can nurture yourself each day. We can’t extend to others what we have not offered to ourselves. So this is why it’s so important we start with our own self love before we move onto loving others. After you have built up a routine of consistent self care, then you can take all of those practices and offer love and acceptance to others.
I encourage you to be intentional throughout the month of not only ways you can show yourself love, but how you can show others love and kindness. Just for the month, you might want to commit to one act of kindness each day. It could be as simple as making coffee for your spouse or giving a complement to a coworker. Or it might be something more complex, like donating money to your favorite cause or spending your weekend helping a friend move. Whatever it is, keep this theme of love on the forefront of your mind!
I’ve already mentioned a few ways you can be more intentional about working with your heart chakra this month but I’m going to list a few more practical ideas below.
- Makeover your morning routine, your afternoon lunch routine or your before bed routine to include time for self care. Make time for yourself, literally. For me, this meant I’m waking up an hour earlier so I can spend time reading, journaling, meditating and squeeze in a quick yoga flow before my day begins. This is something that helps me enter my day in a more positive frame of mind. Find what time of day works best for you and carve out at least thirty minutes where you can do something to invest in your own well being.
- Rose quartz and emerald are great crystals to wear or use when focusing on your heart chakra. I like to wear them as a reminder of what I’m focusing on that month.
- Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lime and Ylang Ylang are all great essential oils to use when working with your heart chakra. Any oil that promotes a sense of joy and well being is also good to use here. You might rub one of these oils on your chest each morning as you remember your self care ritual for the day or you might diffuse them while you work. You also can practice breathing exercises with the peppermint oil to experience an even greater feeling of openness and ‘fresh air’.
- Pay attention to your thought life. Notice any self talk that is hostile or unkind to yourself and counter it. I have listed a quick little exercise below that I use to help myself deal with negative self talk.
I hope you’ll join me this month in taking the time to show love to yourself and others. If your following along with our chakra series I would love to hear how you’ve been using it or if it’s been helpful to you. Hope to see you at a class this fall. Namaste!