Yoga Sequences

5 Poses That’ll Inspire You to Live From Your Heart

Your heart is a source of intuition and deep knowledge—but you may miss its messages when your (busy) mind rules. This sequence is designed to help you get out of your head and into your heart.

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Next in Self-Love Series This Guided Meditation Will Inspire You to Live From Your Heart

There is a place inside each of us that knows all the answers without us even having to ask the questions. It’s a place that acts as a personal GPS, guiding us toward our truths and away from that which no longer serves us. This place is the source of your light, made up of unconditional love. It’s your heart, and there is no greater act of self-love than living from it.

If you ever doubt that your true nature is one of pure joy and love, spend some time with a baby. It is awe-inspiring to watch infants take in the world. They don’t spend time beating themselves up or feeling insecure about their tummies. They use their mental energy to observe the astounding world around them. As they gaze deeply into your eyes or nuzzle into your shoulder, you can tell that they are fully living from their heart. Self-love is innate. Self-loathing is learned.

See also 7 Yoga Poses to Open Your Heart and Shoulders

So how do you unlearn the patterns that have become so deeply engrained in your brain that it’s easy to mistake them as reality? By identifying your thoughts for what they are: just words. Thoughts are words that were learned, heard, or observed. And just like when you read words in a book or on screen, you can choose when to stop reading, paying attention, and believing.

By tapping into the well-stream of infinite love constantly flowing from inside, you can drown out the outside noise that you may have come to believe as truth. You can tune into your heart, where you are already perfect—because you are love.

What I’m saying is not some distant utopian ideal. It’s about connecting to a deeper place within you and living from that space. It’s about letting your heart be a source of guidance. It’s about peeling off the masks we mistakenly feel we need to wear and discovering who we authentically are—and living life in accordance.

See also Sequencing Primer: 9 Ways to Plan a Yoga Class

Ready to get started? Try this simple, 5-pose home practice to help you start living from your heart:

Chapasana (Sugarcane pose)

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I always joke with my students that if Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose) and Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) had a baby, it would be Chapasana. This heart-opener is, first and foremost, a standing pose: The more confidently you can stand for yourself and in your power, the brighter you can shine from your heart. You see, every part of you works together. Your feet and legs are what make up your foundation, and they represent your roots. Roots are made up of everything that is of primary importance—family, key relationships, career, etc. This pose is represents the idea that the stronger your roots, the safer you’ll feel to open your heart. 

Parsvottanasana (Intense Side Stretch Pose)

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The shape we make in Parsvottanasana gives offers an opportunity to practice keeping the heart open—despite the external forces (such as gravity, criticism, and negative self-talk) that try to pull us down. We will stay upright for this variation, emphasizing reverse prayer hands. This hand position, called paschima namaskar, teaches you to lean into the heart’s vast potential. This requires faith in your own abilities. Your feet and legs work strongly as your foundation. The shape, as a whole, teaches you that when we are supported by strong roots and believe in ourselves, we can do anything! 

See also 6 Steps to Master Intense Side Stretch (Parsvottanasana)

Camatkarasana (Wild Thing Pose)

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Play is an important part of a balanced life and a happy heart. At first it can feel like a lot of work trying to weed through the lower mind’s incessant judgments and expectations to get to your innate wisdom. Adding levity to your practice is a great way to bypass your mind and go straight to your heart. Sometimes called Rockstar Pose, Wild Thing (or Thang, as I like to call it), combines arm balancing with backbending to create an expansive shape.Wild Thing requires strong legs and a stable standing arm to create the necessary container for the heart to shine upward. It’s easy to sit in your joints in this shape, especially if one is hyper-mobile, but when you do that, you can actually lose the heart-opening action. When done right, Wild Thing takes strength. As we have said before, opening your heart is brave!

See also Big Gal Yoga’s Heart-Opening Sequence That Will Make You Love Yourself Again

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

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Some practitioners discount bridge as a step before Bow Pose, but it’s actually a very powerful shape in its own right. Bridge has many benefits, such as opening the lungs and helping with breath—some schools even claim it reduces anxiety and depression. When we don’t live from our hearts our bodies tends to contract: Shoulders collapse inward and the head thrusts forward as a symbol of letting the mind lead. I don’t know about you, but I am definitely not living from my heart when I am immersed social media. Bridge counteracts this. When your chest is the highest point of your posture, you physically express the message that your head should follow your heart.

See also Breath Practice for Releasing Fear

Purvottanasana (Upward Plank Pose)

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This undertaught pose has all the essential elements for cultivating self-love. First, Purvottanasana requires you to recognize how strong you are. You must have faith in your arms to fully support your body. Next, you must be able to stand in your power as your legs act as the driving force lifting your hips and chest. Finally, (and barring any neck issues!) your head releases back, surrendering to the lift of your heart. All of these actions culminate in the ultimate expression of self-love: strong, powerful, and heart wide open!

See also A Sequence to Help You Feel Strong and Secure