You know how Care Bears shine from their bellies? Well you by dear, are going to shine from your heart.
There’s the physical heart and the spiritual heart and they are both intrinsically connected, residing more or less at the same place in the centre of your chest. We’re going to focus here on finding expansion in that spiritual heart - the place where love, compassion, kindness and forgiveness is born.
When your chest is open and soft, love and tenderness can flow freely. When the chest is caved and closed however, it can be harder to tap into those juicy, lovey-dovey vibes.
Anahata, the heart chakra, is represented by a smokey green colour. Feel free to imagine that emanating from your heart centre as you explore the below poses and mini-flows. You can also picture a magical rainbow, beams of radiant light and whatever else that gets your heartfelt mojo moving.
1. Seated Cat Cow
I absolutely adore the simplicity and freedom that this little flow offers. You can do it sitting on the ground, sitting at your desk, or standing in line at the supermarket (if you’re the brave type).
As you inhale, imagine you’re pulling oars toward you as your chest and heart expand and your face and throat lift and open. Try and get an even curve in your spine by drawing your shoulders back and filling the chest and heart with Prana.
As you exhale, push the air away with your hands, drop your head and cave your belly and chest. Draw your navel in and up to empty and cleanse the base of your lungs. Do as many rounds as you like, experiencing a long steady inhalation and a balanced exhalation.
2. Baby Camel
Sure, you could just dive in and rock full Camel right off the bat but I find this Baby Camel so fruitful in finding huge heart-opening while keeping the low back long. This is your Care Bear Stare equivalent.
Standing on your knees, bring your hands to your low back / high bum. Draw your elbows toward one another as your shoulder heads roll back and down, creating tons of space across your chest.
Keep your low back long by ever so slightly dropping your tail toward the earth as your hips move forward. Keep your neck long and take 3-5 steady breaths, feeling an opening in your heart. Come up and rest then explore it again. Enjoy the softening in your shoulders and feel all that goodness streaming across your chest.
3. Rolling Bridge
This mini-flow gets movement into the whole length of the spine while creating lots of lift in the heart.
Come onto your back with your feet squared and hip distance apart. As you inhale, tuck your tail up and lift your pelvis toward the ceiling. Keep your arms long with your palms pressed into the ground. Keep your shoulders earthed so that your heart can puff up and open toward your chin at the end of the inhalation.
As you exhale, slowly roll back down one notch of the spine at a time. Follow your breath, maybe going just a touch higher with each new inhalation. Keep your palms planted and shoulder blades down to get that sweet heart opening splendour.
4. Supported Fish
End with this perfectly gentle release. It’s nice to note that depending on the flexibility in your upper back and the health of your neck, you can opt to have either a lower or higher support.
Roll up a blanket or use a yoga bolster or pillow. Place it on your mat and lie back so that the support lands across the middle of your shoulder blades. Feel that your heart is lifted then place your hands either above your head for more stretch or on your belly or by your sides for less. Legs can be long or bent. Breathe steadily across your chest, close your eyes and bask in the expansion.
These accessible poses are great to do on the daily. Feel free to enjoy them on their own or to incorporate them into your existing practice - it’s all good. In a world where we spend so much time slumped forward and involved in our own little spheres, here’s an opportunity to tune into your heart frequency then slingshot it out into the world.