Opening the Heart Chakra for Love, Friendship

Number 5 in a cut-out-and keep series

Yoga Times with Jelila

Opening the Heart Chakra for Love, Friendship

The unifying power of yoga calms you, tones the body without needing to work hard and benefits health and wellbeing.

This week, we experience the Fourth or Heart Chakra (Anahatha). Its name may be interpreted as “the pure sound of who you are.” It is located at the heart and its color is rose pink or light green. This chakra relates to love and relationship and is the seat of the soul. The heart chakra is the most important chakra as it is the one which guides us with feeling, enabling us to make caring, meaningful choices in all areas of life.

These simple yoga techniques help to open your heart, bringing warmth, helping you to connect with your feelings, which in turn helps you to connect with others.

Begin with the warm-up from Yoga Times issue 1 (online at

Sit in Easy Pose (cross-legged with straight spine, chin tucked slightly, body relaxed, first finger and thumb pinched together resting on the knees). Close the eyes, focus at the third eye (2.5 centimeters above the bridge of the nose) as you imagine the colors rose pink and light green expanding at the heart chakra and reflect for a few minutes on these aspects of the heart: Human Challenge and Gift – to open our hearts to love in all its forms. Soul Desire – to experience unity, devotion, reverence for life, unattached bonding. Primal Relationship – with higher spiritual power, our own heart and the hearts of others, the pulse that unites us with the universe.

Bear Grip

Sit in Easy Pose, with a straight spine yet relaxed body. Bring your left hand into a claw facing your heart, and your right hand into a claw with palm facing your other hand. Now link the two claws so you are clasping your hands in a tight grip. Place your hands in front of the heart, forearms straight, and pull as hard as you can, breathing in and out deeply through the nose. As you breathe in, your belly expands, as you inhale, pull the belly in. Continue to pull your hands as hard as you can throughout, trying to pull them apart. Focus at the third eye, and as you inhale, think “SAT” and as you exhale, think “NAM.” Continue for two to three minutes. When complete, inhale deep, stretch up, pull the hands, exhale, relax the hands and sit in Easy Pose a moment, noticing the feelings in your heart.

Downward Dog

From standing, with feet and hands shoulder-width apart, bend forward and place both palms flat on the ground beneath the shoulders (if you can’t, merely reach forward as far as is comfortable without pushing, and remain there. With regular practice, you will be amazed how fast your flexibility improves). Straighten the legs, continually push down the heels. Breathe deeply in and out through the nose (keep mouth closed to retain the prana, or energy, generated by the exercise within your body). Meditate on Sat Nam throughout (inhale Sat, exhale Nam, visualized at third eye). Make the breath strong to support you. Continue for two to three minutes. When complete, inhale deep, perfect the pose and gently come out of it. Relax standing for a few moments, shake out the legs. This one strengthens blood flow, oxygenates the heart, is good for the circulation and brings warmth, love, positive energy and hope.

Animal Pose

From standing, bend forward and grasp the ankles – or as low down as you can comfortably reach). Begin sedately walking around, taking small slow steps, still grasping the ankles, like an elephant. Continue for two to three minutes. This one increases blood flow to the head, brings lightness and wellbeing.

Chant – Sat Nam Wahé Guru

This Sanskrit chant means “Truth is my name – Wow God!” and brings warmth, light and peace. Sit in Easy Pose, bring the palms together in prayer pose at the heart. Now, as you chant “Sat Nam, Sat Nam, Wahé Guru, Wahé Guru” repeatedly, you rhythmically move the hands from prayer pose to floating above each knee and back again. As if they were repeatedly describing the curved roof of a building. The hands move fast, so every alternate word is at the heart (i.e. Sat is at heart, Nam is at knee, next Sat is at heart, etc.)  Continue for three, seven, or 11 minutes, according to preference, meditating on the heart as you do it. This one brings peace, love and a sense of self-appreciation. It is good to do anytime you need to feel light and good. I went ice-skating in London with my yoga friends once and they skated around doing this one, which still makes me laugh when I think of it.

Meditate in Easy Pose for two to three minutes to complete, focusing on love, as you imagine the colors rose pink and green expanding at your heart chakra, connecting you, encompassing those you love: your family, friends, neighbors, community, country and the whole world.

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