The Heart Chakra is our fourth chakra and I like to think of it as the balancing chakra. It is the center point between the lower three more physical chakras and the upper three more spiritual chakras. The heart chakra lies is the core of our spirit.
In yoga, many different pranayama or breathing exercises help to open and expand this area. Also, there are many poses that work to expand and balance out this area, as well. Such poses may include backbends (Bridge, Wheel, Camel), milder backbends (Sphinx and Up Dog) and shoulder openers (Eagle, Dolphin). Throughout our daily lives, the heart energy changes so it is important to always examine how you feel before doing these poses, whether it be for opening your heart energy or releasing any excess of heart energy.
One of my favorite heart chakra poses to do is Wheel pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana) because not only does it open the entire front of the body, touching on most all of the chakras, but, my heart chakra feels the most open in this pose. It is always important to do these heart opening poses with an intent behind them, whether it is to send love to another, send love to yourself, or to release any excess energy in that area. No matter how I’m feeling, whenever I practice Wheel pose, it seems to give me the balance I need at that moment.
Others may connect with different heart chakra poses, which is why it is so important to practice them, if you are physically capable, and see which resonates with you the most. That’s the beautiful thing about yoga…you can find different poses that connect with you and that help you feel more harmonized as you go about your life. Yoga is a very personal practice and that is one of the most beautiful things about it. =)