Celebrate love this Valentine’s Day by connecting to your heart chi for a sense of inner peace, happiness and the ability to build healthy relationships. Our physical heart is a muscle that pumps 24/7 providing every part of our body with blood and nutrients. In Chinese medicine, the heart is considered the master of our body. It is a powerful source of energy and life that we must take time to appreciate and nourish. Besides eating well and exercising the heart with regular cardio, you can help nourish your heart energy or chi with yin yoga poses targeting the heart meridian. This meridian starts at the heart, runs down the center of your body to your small intestines, up through your throat to your eyes and across your chest down your arms. Nourish your heart chi with these 5 poses.
1. Wide Knee Child’s Pose with Twist– Start in regular child’s pose and spread your knees wide, keeping your hips towards your heels. Twist your body to the right as you take your left arm and stretch it out palm up on the ground. Take your right arm behind you and rest your hand on either your lower back or all the way on your left inner thigh. Turn your head to the right and rest it on the ground as you settle into the pose. Breathe in this position for 3-5 minutes before repeating on the other side.
2. Sphinx Pose– Lie on your stomach with your legs hip distance apart in parallel. Press up to prop yourself onto your forearms with elbows shoulder distance apart. Your elbows should be slightly forward of your shoulders. Bring your palms together in front of you and avoid sinking into your shoulder blades. If you feel any lower back pain, bring your elbows more forward and engage your glutes and inner thighs. Stay in this pose keeping your neck in line with your spine for 3-5 minutes.
3. Lateral Dragon Fly Pose– Sit on the ground in a wide straddle position. Lean all the way over to the right side placing your right elbow on the ground inside of your thigh and resting your head on your hand. You may use a prop like a cushion or block under your right elbow if you can’t comfortably rest your elbow on the ground. Reach your left arm up and over your body grabbing onto your toes. If you cannot reach your toes, just rest your arm over your head to stretch the left side of your body. Hold for 3-5 minutes before switching sides.
4. Fish Pose– Sit with your legs in a butterfly position, soles of your feet together. Place your hands palm down next to your hips and lean back onto your forearms. Arch your back and keep your chest lifted to expand your entire front body. Drop your head back or keep your head forward if you have any neck issues. Hold for 2-3 minnutes.
5. Snail Pose– This pose stimulates the heart meridian by compressing the tissues in your chest while lengthening the back. Lie on your back and bring your legs over your head. Keep your weight in your upper back and not your neck. Allow your knees to drop to either side of your head and wrap your arms around your calves with your elbows dropped to the sides. If your feet cannot touch the ground, place your hands behind your lower back for support. Hold this pose for 3-5 minutes.
How are you going to nourish your heart this Valentine’s Day?
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Photo: Crystal Chin