Unlocking the Heart: The Fourth Chakra

” Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.” – Zora Neale Hurston

Unlocking the heart chakra can be very powerful work to explore in your asana practice. As a bodyworker, I often find that this is a place that people physically manifest energetic holding and body armoring. Tight shoulders, neck and chest can be signs of a heart chakra in need of some work. For many, getting into chest openers will unlock old wounds and heartache that have been buried in the muscles and so I invite students to work as deeply as they feel comfortable.

The heart chakra is ruled by the air element and so exploring different types of pranayama are also excellent gateways to the 4th chakra. Furthermore, as the ribs, sternum and chest start to expand with heart chakra focused work, the deeper the breath will become and the more effective the pranayama.

Color: Emerald Green

Seed Syllable: YAM

Element: Air

Rules: Heart, Hands

Planet: Venus

Here are some yogic suggestions to embrace the heart chakra:

Asana

Matsyasana (fish pose)

Uttana Shishosana (happy puppy pose)

Setu Bhanda Sarvangasana (bridge pose)

Sphinx Pose

Pranayama

Nadi Shodhana (alternate nostril breathing)

Bhandas

Mula Bhanda

Jalandhara Bhanda

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Ayurvedic Tips for Fall

With its shift from the heat of summer to cooler weather, the fall can often through us out of balance from an Ayurvedic perspective. We continue with the high energy of summer when we should transition into the slower pace of fall.

Vata increases the air in the body and when it becomes out of balance can be ungrounding. Here are some tips for the fall and for keeping vata in balance.

Neti-pot: using a neti-pot on a daily basis will help fight fall colds by insuring the sinus and nasal passages are clear of pathogens.

Diet: transition to more warming, slightly heavier foods. Great fall food options are: soups, winter squashes, root vegetables and brown rice.

Water: drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated, as aggravated vata will dry the body out. Warm teas are the ideal source of hydration to simultaneously warm and hydrate.

Yoga: asana can be a great way to support the body through the fall season. To warm the body, explore backbends and arm balances. The fall is also a great time to cleanse, twists can be an excellent way to release toxin form the internal organs.

Rest: fall also affords us an excellent opportunity to slow down. Find more time for rest and support the body through more restorative poses and savasana.

Herbs: certain herbs can help to warm the body, consider adding these herbs to teas or foods: ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cayenne.

Nourish and warm the body and calm the vata with a new favorite soup recipe from Sunset Magazine: Pumpkin Soup with Pumpkin-Seed Mint Pesto. The fresh garlic in the pesto is the perfect antidote for the beginnings of a cold.