Six Heart-opening Yoga Poses and Contemplations Susan Cabana

Six Heart-opening Yoga Poses and Contemplations


Our hearts are brilliant. They beat more than 100,000 times a day, delivering the essential oxygen, hormones, and nutrients (love) our cells need.

Our hearts are our guides, too. They teach us so much about ourselves. With every beat, our hearts remind us that we are both love and loved.

When we are completely immersed in and connected to our hearts, we find bliss.

Here are 6 of our favorite heart-opening yoga poses that will help you find bliss. We’ve paired each pose with a heart-centered contemplation. Choose the contemplation that resonates the most with you and let it be your guide this February.

Please Note: These poses are perfect for new yogis. You will need a yoga mat, blanket, yoga strap, 2 blocks, and a warm space to practice. Remember that yoga is a practice for us to fully listen to ourselves and what our bodies need. So avoid self-judgement and any pose that makes you feel pain.

  1. Reclining heart opener with two blocks
    Start on your back with a block placed underneath your shoulder blades (middle-high height) and a block underneath your head (low height). Relax your arms by your side with your palms facing upwards and extend your legs out onto the mat. You could also keep the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall out to the side. Remember to breathe! Hold this pose for 2-5 minutes. Contemplation: “The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.” – Buddha
  2. Cobra Pose
    Lie on your belly and let the tops of your feet touch the mat behind you, hips-width apart. As you inhale, keep your elbows close to you, place your hands in front of you and bring yourself up onto your fingertips. Press your thighs and the tops of your feet gently into the mat as you come into this gentle backbend and heart-opening pose. As you exhale, gently relax back to your belly on your mat. Continue this movement for 5-10 breaths. Contemplation: In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” – Khalil Gilbran
  3. Bridge Pose
    Lie on your back with your knees bent and the soles of your feet hips-width apart pressing firmly into the mat. Relax your shoulders and reach for your heels with your hands. Make sure you can touch your heels. Relax your hands by your side, palms facing upwards, and gently draw your navel to your spine as you slowly lift your hips high. Remember to squeeze your glutes so you don’t feel this in your lower back! Hold bridge pose for 1-2 minutes and gently rest your entire back on the mat. Repeat 3-5 times. Contemplation: “Remember the emphasis on the heart. The mind lives in doubt and the heart lives in trust. When you trust, suddenly you become centered.” – Osho
  4. Cat Cow
    Start on all fours (knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders gently pressed into the mat). It might be nice to have a blanket underneath your knees if you feel pain. As you inhale, gently drop your belly, relax your shoulder blades back, and gaze forward or upwards. As you exhale, gently round your spine, pulling your navel towards your ribs, relaxing your neck and gazing towards your navel. Repeat the movements with each inhale and exhale, for 5-10 breaths. Imagine your spine as an ocean wave. Contemplation: “Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.” – Buddha
  5. Mountain Pose
    Stand tall with your feet hips-width apart and your arms by your side. Relax your shoulder blades down your back and begin to inhale through your nose. As you inhale deeply, bring your hands up over your head with palms facing forward and thumbs hooked and gently bend backwards. As you exhale, gently bring your arms back down in front of you and rest them next to your sides. Repeat this for 5-8 breaths. Contemplation: “Love doesn’t need reason. It speaks from the irrational wisdom of the heart.” – Deepak Chopra
  6. Lord of the Dance Pose
    Stand tall with your feet hips-width apart and your arms by your side. Relax your shoulder blades down your back. As you inhale, shift your weight onto your right leg and gently bend your left foot up towards your buttocks. Gently grasp the inner sole of your left foot and slowly extend your left leg back behind you.Feel all four corners of your right foot rooting into the ground and soften your right knee. Breathe for 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side. Contemplation: “There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled. There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled. You feel it, don’t you?” – Rumi