We are working with our 4th Chakra this month as part of the chakra series. The 4th Chakra, called the Anahata Chakra, is located at our heart space – the center of the chest at the sternum. This chakra is the seat of our empathy, compassion, kindness, love and passion. This is the chakra that opens your heart. It’s earth element is air – so being mindful of breath is a big part of working with this chakra. It’s color is green and its sound is “YAM.”
Different yoga poses can activate certain chakras. Here a few beginner-level poses I like to use to activate my sacral chakra:
Cow Face Pose
Start in a tabletop position. Bring your right knee forward and cross it over your left knee. Then slowly lower your hips down. You are working towards having your right knee stacked on your left. Try to bring the heels at equal distance from your hips. Inhale and raise your right arm up towards the ceiling and extend your left arm out to the side, thumb face down. On your exhale bend your elbows behind your back and clasp your hands. If you are not able to clasp hands, use a strap, or just grab the back of your shift. Stay here or take a deep breath in, and on your exhale start to fold forward. Stay for one minute and breathe. Ease out of the pose into tabletop, then take the other side. This pose opens the hips, chest and shoulders, promotes deep breathing and softens your heart.
Cat and Cow Pose
Start in a tabletop position, knees over the hips, hands under shoulders. Spread your fingers side. As you inhale, arch your back and lift your sitting bones towards your ceiling. At the same time lift your chest up between your shoulders, and broaden your shoulders. As you exhale, reverse this action and round your spine up towards the ceiling like a halloween cat. Release your head and neck here. Continue these actions… inhale, arch your back into cow pose, exhale, round your back cat pose. After several rounds, return to a neutral spine in tabletop position. These poses promote flexibility in the spine, deepens the breath, and opens your heart.
This is a great pose to open the heart, stretching your front body, and preparing for deeper backbends. Kneel on the floor with your knees hips width. Place your hands on your lower back, fingertips facing downwards. Root down through your knees, they are your foundation in this pose. Slightly bring your tailbone in to lengthen your back – at the same time slightly press your front thighs back to counter the forward action of your tailbone. Inhale and lift your chest up. To deepen the pose, bring your hands to your heels. If you feel any strain on your lower back return your hands to your lower back. Stay here for 5 deep breaths.
Healing Foods for the Chakras
You can also nourish chakras through the foods you are eating. The color of the heart chakra is green. Eating your greens and green veggies will really activate this chakra. Green juices, green smoothies and salads are a great way to nourish your heart chakra.
Cashew Chopped Salad with Peanut Ginger Dressing
Makes 2 huge salads
1 small head of red leaf lettuce (any lettuce will work here), chopped
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup corn
1 cup chickpeas
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, grated
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 cup of water
Splash of Tamari sauce
To make the dressing, blend all of the dressing ingredients.
To assemble the salad, divide the Lettuce into 2 plates (or one plate and a to go container for tomorrow’s lunch). Divide the rest of the ingredients between the 2 salads, and top with the peanut dressing.