The heart chakra is, unsurprisingly, all about love.
But it’s not just romantic love for a partner; it’s also love for yourself, Dana Covello, founder of Anusara yoga studio Twisted Trunk Yoga tells Well+Good.
“We use the expression ‘follow your heart’ a lot, but the job of the heart space isn’t to make decisions—that’s up at the third eye centre,” says Dana.
“Let the heart be the space of receiving and giving love but not the space for discernment.”
Dana adds that the tricky thing about the heart chakra is that, as with all the chakras, it doesn’t reflect only what we’re doing and feeling right now; it also takes into account what we’ve done and felt in our childhoods, early romantic experiences, and other relationships.
Which means that opening and strengthening it can require some uncomfortable work.
“The heart chakra is the centre of love, joy, generosity, courage and forgiveness,” says Dana, who has been inspired by the work of Ellen Tadd, author of The Wisdom of the Chakras.
“It can also be a place where we accumulate hurt and disappointment, which is why it can be a place that we protect.”
Dana says there are some great practices to connect the heart chakra and the third eye, such as breathing into the physical space of the heart and observing the various bodily sensations.
“But to strengthen the heart chakra, I vote for doing things that delight your heart—whatever they may be for you.”
Which means that you probably already know what would strengthen your heart chakra—but you might not be doing it as often as you should (or would like).
“Get the breath moving in an unrestricted way. Think of what your breath feels like when you are in love—with a person, an idea or a place,” she suggests.
It’s an easy, big, three-dimensional movement (you should visualise your breath going down into your belly and pelvis and expanding the sides of your ribs), unlike your breathing pattern when you’re afraid, hurt, or anxious.
“It’s amazing how our internal state can shift when we move our bodies.”
Dana says yoga, with its backbends, is a great way to metaphorically open the heart.
“Simple backbends where the body can feel safe and supported are the way to begin. Lying on your back with a block at the back of your shoulder blades and another under your head—or a blanket roll at the bottom tips of your shoulder blades—is a gentle way to connect to that space in the body.
“The key is to give your body enough support to feel safe to open.”
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