4 Yoga Poses for Opening the Heart Center
by SYF2023 presenter Toni Ferrarie
The heart space is an important energy center in the body. It is responsible for our emotions, including love, compassion, and forgiveness. When the heart center is open, we feel confident and secure in ourselves and our relationships. We are able to give and receive love freely. However, when the heart center is blocked, we may feel closed off, alone, and afraid. We may have trouble trusting others or feeling like we are worthy of love. Practicing yoga can help to open the heart center and promote positive emotions.
These four yoga poses are beginner-friendly and can be practiced by anyone. Give them a try!
The first pose is a Restorative Yoga supported heart-opener pose. This pose, or asana, is a great way to open your heart and practice deep relaxation. To begin, place a bolster or firm couch cushion horizontally on your yoga mat, lift one end and place a block on its side under that end of the bolster, forming a “slope”. Lie down so your back is against the low side of the slope, place your head at the top of the high end. Bring your legs into a comfortable position, such as butterfly, legs out straight or bent knees. Palms are up and about 45 degrees from your waist. Stay here for 5-10 minutes, breathing deeply and allowing yourself to relax into the pose.
Three more beginner-friendly poses you can also try:
Cat-cow pose is a great short sequence to open up your heart space while releasing tension in the back and between the shoulder blades. To do this pose, start on your hands and knees with your palms flat on the ground. As you inhale, arch your back and look up toward the ceiling. As you exhale, round your back and tuck your chin toward your chest. Repeat this sequence a few times, moving slowly and smoothly with each breath.
Cobra pose provides a soothing stretch through the lower back and allows an opening up of the heart space without stressing the knees. To do this pose, lie flat on your stomach with your feet hip-width apart and your palms flat on the ground next to your shoulders. As you inhale, press into your palms and lift your chest off of the ground. Keep your shoulders down, away from your ears, as you hold the pose for a few deep breaths.
This asana releases the hips and abdominal area and provides space in the heart center. To begin, lie down on your back with feet flat on the floor and arms by your sides. Bend your knees and place your feet hip-width distance apart. As you inhale, press down into your feet and lift your hips toward the sky, extending your chest forward as you do so. Clasp your hands together under your body and interlace your fingers, if you can reach them comfortably. If not, no worries! You can always place a yoga block or folded blanket under your lower back for support instead. Hold this pose for 30 seconds to 1 minute then slowly release back to starting position on an exhale
These four yoga poses are simple but effective ways to begin opening the heart center. They can be practiced by anyone, regardless of experience level. Start with one pose per day and see how you feel! You may find that you experience more positive emotions and increased self-love as you make opening the heart center part of your regular yoga practice.
Learn from Toni in person at our 10-year anniversary celebration this April 27–30! Passes available here.
Toni Ferrarie is a Certified Yoga Educator and Instructor, E-RYT/YACEP. She is a Certified Ayurveda Practitioner and a Certified Mediation Instructor. She is the founder and owner of The Breathing Room Yoga and Wellness in Riverdale, NJ and the founder, owner and yoga retreat and group wellness travel leader for Live Breathe Travel located in Riverdale and West Milford, NJ. She is a deeply spiritual human and a true believer that Kindness is the way and Love is the answer! She has been practicing yoga and meditation for as long as she can remember! You can contact her through her studio at contactus@theBRyoga.com.