To me personally, practicing yoga is a great way to show my body love. Whenever I make time for a yoga session, I walk away with a deeper appreciation for my strength, not to mention a much calmer mind. If you also enjoy spending time on your yoga mat, these yoga poses for Valentine’s Day can help inspire love for both yourself and those closest to you. Whether you will be celebrating romantic love on Feb. 14 or just want to open yourself up to greater self-love and love for your friends and family, these poses are just the thing to start the day with a full heart.
"These poses inspire love because they start to loosen the binds around your heart," explains Allison Zamani, an associate marriage and family therapist, associate professional clinical counselor, and certified yoga instructor. "In yoga anatomy (the anatomy of the subtle body), there are three knots around your heart, more than in other places in your body," she says. "With heart opening poses, you are working to loosen these knots." As you move through these poses that physically expose your heart, she tells Elite Daily, you’ll discover more room for compassion, openness, and love — both for yourself and for others.
As you experiment with these poses, try repeating a simple mantra to deepen your connection to love and trust, suggests Kelly Clifton-Turner, yoga teacher and director of education for YogaSix. Say something like "I am loved, I am safe," she recommends. "Or, while sustaining a posture, offering a meditation on loving kindness is a beautiful way to radiate love from the inside out." Begin by wishing yourself love, then wish it for people in your life, and then finish by wishing love over your community.
Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)
"Back-bending poses such as [cobra pose] open the whole front of the body, help release tension, and free up space for the breath to move and circulate," says Robyn Parets, an E-RYT yoga teacher and CEO of Pretzel Kids. "This gives you a rush of energy called ‘prana’ and helps you feel your emotions — including love."
Wheel Pose (Urdhva dhanurasana)
"Urdhva dhanurasana will have an intense effect on the heart," says Zamani, "particularly if you focus on pushing down into your legs and expanding the chest." As you expose your heart, make sure that you are are being careful not to push your body beyond what it can do.
Wild Thing pose (Camatkarasana)
Wild thing pose is a position that will expose the heart, inviting in more space for love of self and others, says Ava Johanna, a yoga and meditation instructor, transformational mentor, and breath work facilitator. As you move into position, she suggests visualizing a rose gold light directly in the center of the heart space. This combines color therapy (chromotherapy) with the deep physical opening that is happening, she tells Elite Daily. "With each round of breath, visualize the rose gold light spreading and covering the entire body, then recall a time when you felt a deep sense of love."
Camel pose (Ustrasana)
"My personal favorite back bend for heart opening is ustrasana or camel pose which, when done very mindfully, can be a huge heart opening," suggests Zamani. If you have trouble holding a wheel pose, camel pose is a great alternative to also target heart opening. Since this pose is a little easier on your body, you can also concentrate on expanding your chest without being uncomfortable.
Supported fish pose (Matsyasana)
"More suitable for beginners and yogis of all levels, this pose opens the heart without the intensity of a big backbend," explains Sarah Lane, RYT, a certified yoga instructor at CorePower Hollywood. "This is a relaxing heart opener that you can do at home before bed or in the morning," she says. "Many of us who have blockages in our heart chakras can experience feelings of disconnection, avoidance, fear of being alone, and social anxiety." According to Lane, a pose like supported fish pose allows you to breathe deeply and help heal some of those fears and instead welcome in love.
Dancer’s pose (Natarajasana)
As you try this heart opener, you’ll benefit by incorporating Nadhi Shodhana or alternate nostril breathing, which essentially balances the breath and the body, according to MIRROR founding trainer and registered yoga teacher Alex Silver-Fagan. "By opening your heart and feeling vulnerable," she says, "you’ll be giving out an energetic love and thus be receptive to receiving it back."
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