Valentine's Day has passed, but we've still got time in this month of love to open our hearts, creativity, and desire.
Below are 7 poses to stimulate and strengthen your heart and lower chakras--all the better to love you with, my dear!
As always, if you've never done a particular pose or have injury, illness, or limited mobility, check with a certified yoga teacher and/or your wellness professional before trying any unfamiliar poses. For instruction on how to do the poses, check yogajournal.com or Iyengar's "Light on Yoga." Quoted material below is from Iyengar's classic text.
1. Uttanasana (standing forward bend):
This forward bend massages the abdominal area and stimulates the second chakra. It clears the mind and creates calm for loving and creative action. "After finishing [this] asana, one feels calm and cool, the eyes start to glow and the mind feels at peace"
- eases depression of the mind
- tones the abdominal organs and kidneys
- slows heart beat and rejuvenates the spine
2. Utkatasana (chair):
This standing pose stimulates 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chakras, bringing balance to our creative, sexual, will/power, and heart energies. "Utkata means powerful, fierce ..."
- tones and massages the abdominal organs and the heart
- fully expands the chest
- releases stiffness in the shoulders and spine
- strengthens our base
3. Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend):
Like Uttanasana, this pose brings vitality to the pelvic region, and 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chakras receive a bath of energy. "A good stay in this pose massages the heart, the spinal column, and the abdominal organs, which fell refreshed and the mind is rested."
- increases vitality and helps with impotency
- tones abdominal organs
- brings more nourishing blood to the sex organs
4. Salabhasana (locust):
A gentler backbending pose that is a great one for beginners or those without much flexibility in their spine. "The bladder and prostate also benefit from this exercise."
- opens the heart
- massages and stimulates the abdominal organs
- stimulates 2nd and 3rd chakras
- makes the spine more supple
5. Urdvha Mukha Svanasana (upward dog):
A more strenuous backbend that liberates the spine. "The blood circulates properly in the pelvic region and keeps it healthy."
- opens of heart center
- stimulates lungs
- brings nourishing blood to the abdominal regions
- stimulates 2nd chakra
6. Baddah Konasana (bound angle pose):
A seated pose that can be used for meditation and pranayama. Both root and second chakra are stimulated here, providing an infusion of rootedness and strength that can feed into the creative, sexual center. "This pose is a blessing for women."
- beneficial for kidney, urinary tract, prostate, and ovaries
- flushes entire abdomen and low back with blood
- opens hips, inner thigh, and groin
7. Siddhasana/Siddha Yoni Asana (accomplished pose):
A relaxing asana that is appropriate for meditation and pranayama. The pose, done regularly, is reputed to bring spiritual gifts and increased awareness. A good option for those who find Lotus pose difficult. "Siddhasana purifies the 72,000 nadis (or energy channels in the body)."
- keeps the pubic region healthy
- alertness to the mind
- circulates the blood in lumbar and pelvic regions
- tones the abdominal organs
When you are building a sequence at home, it is essential to balance poses such as backbends and twists with gentle forward bends, and energizing forward bends with gentle backbends. Listen to your body; it will tell you how it needs to move!
"Yoga makes us independent. We all want to be free, although many of us are dependent on psychologists, gurus, teachers, drugs, or whatever. Even if advice and guidance are helpful, in the end we ourselves are the best judge of our own actions." T.K.V. Desikachar, The Heart of Yoga