Exercising for Your Fourth Chakra

Exercising for Your Fourth Chakra

The fourth chakra is the heart of the chakra system. It's located at our chest, heart, and cardiac plexus.  Just like plants, which push towards the heavens from their roots in the earth, we too reach outward in two directions. The heart chakra is the midpoint of these two directional reaches. We can anchor into the manifesting current deep in our bodies and expand the liberating current as we reach beyond ourselves. These currents come to perfect balance in the heart.  This midpoint is also where we enter the mystery of love.

The goal of our heart chakra is to find balance in love.  As easy as this sounds, this chakra is easily damaged, diminished, or wounded. These wounds affect both spirit and soul, affect both mind and body, and impact the self's very core. The need for love drives us. We cannot live without it, yet the world is crying from lack of it.

Balance In Our Heart Chakra

When we are in balance in our heart chakra, we can relate with others more clearly. We are less alienating, hostile, defensive, and self-centered.  Love is the binding force that holds our world together; it integrates us with each other as well as with Heaven and Earth.  This is where we can transform the self-centered ego of the lower chakras into awareness of the larger realm in which we live.

The predominant myth we tell ourselves is one of separation.  Separation leads to discordance in the heart chakra. We see ourselves as separate from nature, each other, and the Devine. If we are deficient in our connection with the heart chakra, it can lead to depression, lack of empathy, the judgment of oneself and others, fear of intimacy, and narcissism. If we are in excess in the heart chakra, it can lead to poor boundaries, codependency, jealousy, and overly sacrificing.  The imbalanced heart chakra can show physical malfunctions such as disorders of the heart, lungs, thymus, breasts, and arms, asthma, immune system deficiency, tension between the shoulder blades, and pains in the chest.

Now let's move towards expanding, strengthening, and balancing our heart chakra with the following exercises.

Helpful Terms:

"Flashlights" - When seated, you need to be aware of the placement of your pelvis and your hips.  Pay attention to where your "flashlights" are aiming.  Let me explain what I mean by flashlights.  Concerning your pelvis, you want to imagine you have flashlights on your sitz bones.  If your pelvis is in an anterior tilt, your flashlights will be shining out behind you. If your pelvis is in a posterior tilt, your flashlights are shining out in front of you. If your pelvis is neutral, then your flashlights are shining straight below you.  Therefore, it is essential always to be aware of where your flashlights are shining.

"Bamboo Stick Spine" - When you visualize your spine, you want to think about a bamboo stick. It's long, strong, and pliable.  It is not rigid.


Narrowing a.k.a. "Putting on Your Blue Belt":

Position:

Sit upright on the front edge of a chair, making sure you are on top of your sitz bones.  In this position, your flashlights should shine straight down to the floor.

Movement:  

Inhale and press your sitz bones into your chair while you reach the crown of your head towards the sky. Exhale and release the pressure down into the chair.  Repeat this several times, feeling the spine lengthen more each time you repeat the exercise.  Another way I describe this is “Squeeze Your Energy Ball” - This is a visual/energetic exercise I do with clients.  Take your hands and rub them together briskly.  Once you feel the heat, slowly move them away from each other only by an inch or so. Now you can feel the energy between your hands you have created by rubbing them together. Take the energy and form it into a ball. Now move this energy ball into your second chakra in the area of your naval. While you are inhaling, squeeze your energy ball.  The energy from the ball travels down the legs and up the spine.


Lateral Rib Breathing:

Position: 

Sit upright on the front edge of a chair, making sure you are on top of your sitz bones. The flashlights on your sitz bones should be shining straight down to the floor.

Movement: 

As you inhale, you want to imagine your ribs are expanding wider in the lateral direction, rather than a lift in your chest.  As you exhale, open your mouth and exhale hot air from the back of your throat, as if you are fogging a mirror. When you exhale in this manner, you will feel your ribs narrowing down and together.


Flexion and Extension of the Spine with Emphasizing Arms:

Position: 

Sit upright on the front edge of a chair, making sure you are right on top of your sitz bones.  Begin with your flashlights shining straight down to the floor. Have your arms hanging along your sides.

Movement:

Inhale and lengthen your spine into extension. Spiral your arms open, turning your palms away from your body, and reach your fingernails towards the floor. You will move towards the front of your sitz bones, your chest and eyes will start to look up, your shoulders will glide down your back.  Exhale and allow your spine to move into flexion. Spiral your arms in while reaching your elbows away from your body, spreading the space between your scapulas. You will move towards the back of the sitz bones, and your stomach will hollow out, your shoulders will be in a relaxed state, your forehead is in alignment with your pubic bone, and your eyes looking at your lap. Repeat this process, moving from flexion to extension 8 to 10 times.


Thread the Needle/Pull the Sword:

Position: 

On the floor, kneeling on your hands and knees.  You want your hands to be directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Start with your spine straight like a bamboo stick reaching the crown of your head away from your tailbone and vice-versa.

Movement:  

Inhale and lengthen your spine. Exhale, reach your right hand between your left arm and leg. Allow your right shoulder to drop towards the floor. Your eyes will look towards your right hand. Inhale, coming back thru, reach your right hand up towards the ceiling.  Push thru your left hand to assist the reach of the right hand.  Repeat this several times, rotating to your left.  Then switch sides so you are reaching with your left hand, rotating towards your right.


Scapular Reaches:

Position: 

On the floor, kneeling on your hands and knees.  You want your hands to be directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips. Start with your spine straight like a bamboo stick reaching the crown of your head away from your tailbone and vice-versa.

Movement: 

Inhale, push your hands into the floor, doming your chest up towards the ceiling. Spread the space between your scapulas. Exhale and allow the chest to drop to the floor without bending your elbows.  Be sure to keep your belly pulled in towards your spine as your chest moves towards the floor.


Push-Up:

Position: 

From the kneeling place described above, slightly walk your hands forward about six inches, bringing your body into a kneeling plank position.

Movement: Inhale and visualize your body is long and strong like the bamboo stick, as described above. Exhale, draw your scapulas down your back and bend your elbows towards your knees.  Lower yourself as low as you can go maintaining scapular and core stability. Inhale and press yourself back to the starting position.


Baby Swan:

Position: 

Lie on your stomach with your forehead rested on the backs of your palms.

Movement: 

Exhale, push down into your pubic bone, lower your ribs, while, at the same time floating your arms, elbows and head off of the mat. Inhale and lower yourself back to the floor. Repeat this several times.

An open and strengthened heart chakra brings us to a place of acceptance, which allows our spirit to be still and find peace, gratitude, and stability.

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