Relish the Festivities This Year by Adding a Little Yoga to Your Holiday Rituals

Can you smell it?

Scent shapes our experiences in countless ways. Well, okay. maybe you can count them. But the impact is obvious. And old holiday traditions no one looks forward to have a smell. It's stale and faint, in case you were wondering. It rebukes. We want to be enticed and seduced into the holidays, don't we?

Let the excitement begin this year with brand spanking new yoga holiday rituals

So what the hell are yoga holiday rituals anyway? I'm gonna go ahead and make up a definition here. We are yoga folk. Our practice is how we go about our lives. So, how does it make any sense that our holidays don't contain rituals and traditions that include yoga? I'll answer that. It really doesn't. So as we gather with our friends, families, and communities, let's involve and revolve the festivities around our beloved practices and share them as the gifts they are with those around us. If you've got a few naysayers or resistant people in your inner circle, this is the ideal opportunity to show them the various and vast sides of the yoga spectrum. Surely some components of yoga will speak to them. Maybe even ALL of the yoga will ring their bells. Don't be afraid to add a little humor. In fact, be a little frightened not to.

It doesn't have to be all serious, yo

Let's not underestimate how unbelievably good a belly laugh feels. Plus, adding humor may help others delete the stereotype of yoga people and their habits from their brains. We don't want those. They suck and we can help those around us understand that everyone is a yoga person and everyone has a yoga body. It's all about the approach. Try one or all of these ideas. Hopefully, they'll stir your own creative juices and you'll come up with something that feels original and very unique to you. The idea is to celebrate, enjoy, and look forward to the holidays. If I'm wrong about that, someone please tell me what they're all about.

Yoga holiday traditions to make your own

  • Decorations should be many things. Meaningful, adorable, and specific to your life. Invite your yoga buddies over and make your best ornament, incense holder, door bling, or table setting. The only rule is that yoga needs to be represented in your craft. You could turn it into a competition. (because that's what the holidays are all about, right?) Or you could pick numbers so that you get to choose the decoration you want to call your own. If yours gets chosen last, who cares! They have no taste. Get silly and creative. Enjoying each other is the best gift of all.
  • Have a chakra soup potluck. I'm doing this on December 16th if anyone wants to come. Yoga Journal published an article last month with recipes that stimulate and correspond with each chakra. Invite at least 6 friends and divvy up the soups. Invite a few others and task them with bringing the yummiest soup-friendly bread as a contribution. Before soup, enjoy a chakra-inspired home practice together. This will be a yoga holiday tradition you'll want to continue forever. And encourage everyone to bring containers to take leftover soup home. I really can't wait for this.

Got any yoga holiday rituals of your own to share?

We would LOVE to hear from you. Please share in the comments so we can gift each other with ideas and possibilities to continue these community building yoga holiday rituals together.


yoga gift box holidays|yogi surprise

The Unacknowledged Presence in a Yoga Gift Box

Have you heard the joke about the only thing the yoga teacher wanted for their birthday? "Just your presence."

Both presents and presence exist in each adoringly cultivated yoga gift box. There's a whole lot more than the contents inside.

A yoga gift box means all of your shopping is done

I mean, if you dig shopping more than breathing, that might not be great news. But if you're a pretty typical holiday shopper who feels a bit overwhelmed by the whole process, then we've got you. The lucky yoga lover in your life knows when they open your gift that you know them well and you want to remind them every month that they are loved.

Sharing a yoga gift box with others is a delightful part of the joy

Last month, when I opened my gift box and saw the cute purple yoga sox with tread on the bottoms, I knew exactly who would be getting them. Amy, I know you'll be wearing them every practice and it makes me smile to think about how much you appreciate them. There's something for everyone in each yoga gift box. We all know a crystals lover. And each of us has that friend who lives for mala beads.

Give a yoga gift box to a couple of friends to enjoy together

If you have two friends whom you know would love a monthly yoga gift box, you could even purchase one for them to share. It would give them the perfect reason to connect each month and explore the contents of the box together, discussing how best to enjoy them in their practice. They will also undoubtedly find items they can collectively gift to other friends, increasing the web of sharing.

We all love receiving gifts in the mail

Each time the Yogi Surprise yoga gift boxes show up at my door, that dopamine hit never fails. It's exciting to know that you don't know exactly what new interests and passions the contents will provoke. Ever since the boxes started to arrive, our home is never without burning incense. Meditation has become part of our daily life. And self-care is now a clutch component for a day well-spent.

Receiving a monthly yoga gift box encourages positive feelings with far-reaching effects

While you're in the process of exploring your yoga gift box or witnessing a loved one enjoy theirs, excitement, generosity, thoughtfulness, and curiosity come alive. These feelings are so contagious. The first time I opened a box, I immediately made a list of others whom I knew would really appreciate it. It feels thrilling to give loved ones something we know will bring them joy and elicit the above-listed feelings in them too.

I was discussing The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman with a student yesterday. These love languages include (in no particular order): time spent, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, and physical affection. The student remarked that gifts are her number one love language. She said when she receives a gift and it's clear someone really thought about her interests and passions, it fills her cup to an overflowing level. It's a lovely way to feel and observe in others.

You have many gift box options

Yogi Surprise offers 3, 6, and 12-month subscription options to meet your budget and gifting desires. Or consider our self-love box as a one-time gift if a subscription isn't what you're looking for.

We also have a specifically curated box for men. The number of men practicing yoga in the United States continues to grow yearly. And we see you men and want to support your specific needs within the wide lens scope of the practice.

We are so looking forward to enjoying the holiday spirit of giving and receiving with you this year.

 


yogi surprise tool box|yogi surprise

All The Reasons Yogi Surprise Helps You Achieve the Practice You Really Need

Yogi Surprise exists to propel your practice

It's our singular dharma. All of us here at Yogi Surprise are deeply passionate about assisting you in enjoying the practice you want, need, and crave to discover on a daily basis.

And because our practice does change, we need various things to keep us focused and motivated. We're different every single day. Actually, if we want to get truly real, every single minute we are shifting. So our practice must reflect this and each carefully curated item included in a yogi surprise box is aimed towards not just improving your practice experience but enabling you to understand yourself, your goals, and what motivates you to both achieve and just simply be.

Yogi surprise is your toolbox

We all need one. Do you remember the first time you ever learned about the yamas and niyamas? I recall vividly thinking, "Where have these simple yet so inherently necessary concepts for living been all of my life?" It changed me. Effective and strong tools do that. Does a crystal have that kind of intrinsic power? It does if it provokes and steers you in the direction of positive thinking and growth.

Variety is everything and discovery is thrilling

The joy of stumbling across a previously unacknowledged instrument for provocation and change is unbridled. Before discovering yoga, I never knew how engaged I'd become with essential oils and their potency to make me feel so damn good. I'm never without one and I love sharing them with students, strangers, and loved ones. We underestimate scent. It has the ability to activate such a variety of emotions, thoughts, and ideas. Essential oils are believed to enhance our health. Ayurvedic medicine has used them for centuries to combat everything from nausea, headaches, and the common cold.

One of my very favorite gifts from yogi surprise came a few months ago. A small singing bowl with its own cushion to rest on showed up and changed my whole approach to a home practice. My partner loves it so much that he signed up to advance his knowledge of the singing bowl practice by registering for a sound bath training program to provide this gift to others. I highly doubt it ever would have occurred to him to explore this as a practice if this simple, lovely bowl hadn't shown up literally on our doorstep.

With just one simple suggestion, your whole life can change

Yogi surprise offers imperative and explorative suggestions in the forms of candles, teas, and chakra guides.  I've been researching the quote, "Wherever you go, there you are." Some sources say Confucious said it first. Jon Kabat-Zinn, renowned mindfulness instructor, has a book by that title. Essentially, we each have this opportunity to offer inspiration to others every second of the day. The more we explore and discover, the more we have to offer. I wouldn't be a yoga instructor if my beloved teacher hadn't suggested it to me. Mala beads are a reminder and suggestion to stay diligent with your practice. Wearing them serves us in the form of a beautiful touchstone. They invite others to strike up conversations. Mala beads have become known as 'yoga bling' but they also signal to others the invitation, "Come talk to me. Ask me about my practice. I want to hear about yours too."

 

Sign up today for your very own monthly yogi surprise box brimming with inspiration and beauty curated with love, affection, and commitment to providing you with all the tools you need to practice.

 


vipassana discoveries|yogi surprise

3 Important Life Epiphanies You'll Have During a Vipassana (Silent Retreat)

Even if you're a quiet person, (which I'm absolutely not) it's no small feat to spend a few days not speaking. The value of unplugging and getting quiet is vast and really difficult to explain until you've gone through it. Vipassana lessons abound and don't all unfold in front of you at once. It's an unraveling effect and it will undoubtedly change you.

Whether it sounds like heaven or an impossibility, there are deep healing reasons each of us should consider taking a silent retreat and possibly doing this on a semi-regular basis.

Meditation first

If meditation eludes you, begin there. Start by meditating daily. It allows you the time to get quiet and go inside. Silence is something many of us have to practice to embrace. Once it doesn't feel so foreign, we can be more open to the gifts and lessons offered.

Vipassana, or "to see things as they truly are" is the Sanskrit term for a 10-day silent retreat. If discovering and unearthing your truths is something you know you want and need to do in this life, it's one of the many silent retreat lessons you'll receive.

There is no talking and no external entertainment allowed (phones are turned over upon arriving, no reading materials or music is permitted). The days are spent practicing seated and walking meditations.

Let's look at some vipassana lessons laying in wait

It's normal to feel intimidated or even scared about embarking on such an experience. But for those who do it, there are gifts that keep giving long after the experience is over.

You'll know yourself better.

Now, this might sound like something we all want. Understanding ourselves can only help us navigate the world around us with a deft and simplicity that isn't available if we really aren't clear on what our dharma is. Unearthing truths we've been hiding from will surface in the quiet. You'll reaffirm your strengths and the areas that need work may become amplified. If you can apply the principle that all truth is good, you may be able to see your way into confronting your truths and the opportunities they offer.

You will have a greater sense of self-discipline and self-control. 

Who couldn't use a little help in these departments? One of the coolest things about taking a vipassana is that you eat only at mealtime. And, you eat what's being served. Not only will you experience and taste your food on a completely different level without the distractions of electronics, books, music, magazines, or conversation, but you'll develop a deeper appreciation for food as sustenance.

Learning to enjoy a portion that's just enough versus all you can manage to consume is powerful. And feeling both physically and mentally strong propel us into believing that we are so much more capable than we may have previously thought. The confidence that comes with hanging in there during a meditation when you've lost count over how many times you were desperate to give up will give you a greater sense of self and appreciation for the present form that is you.

There is no such thing as boredom. 

The concept of boredom is yet another invention of our vast and complex mind. There is no counting the stories in our heads. There are too many and they change constantly. We go from thought to thought and often there is no obvious connection between the thoughts other than that they are mostly fabrications.

During a vipassana, we begin to question of all of our thoughts. If I think the thought, "OMG, I can't meditate for one more nanosecond," then that's my truth right that moment and it will change because it was never true in the first place. And here I am, back to meditating. The only moment that's important is the one that's happening right this second. Does that mean nothing is true? No, of course not. But wading through our muck and distractions and landing on the inherent deep-seeded values that rise up like a lotus over and over is what deserves our attention and nurture.

 

 


crystals for attraction and love|yogi surprise

Three Lesser Known Crystals for Attraction: Bring the Magic Your Way

What attracts you the most?

Don't be shy. Make a list and do not edit yourself. What do you really want out of life? Who are you now and what are you doing to continue to become the person you most want to be?

Heady stuff, I know. But as the brilliant Robin Williams said, "Embrace that little bit of madness within. It's all we've got and we can't deny our true nature. It's what propels us towards our greatness. Go be extraordinary."

Whether you believe in the power crystals possess or not, one thing is for sure - whatever power we believe any object to contain is a power we have within us, even if we have yet to tap into the fullness of it's potential.

Crystals have gained so much popularity and momentum over the last decade because those who use them in meditation manifest the things in life they desire the most. They go the extra mile. These individuals embrace and embody every tool at their disposal. They are as open as a fully bloomed lotus and they radiate their intentions into every space they inhabit.

No, there is no scientific evidence that crystals can do any of the highly charged magic their various meanings promise. But could placing a labradorite crystal on your root chakra open you up to your true dharma with a brilliant and illuminating light because of your intention to see the truth? There's only one way to find out....

Using crystals for attraction helps us be clear about our truest intentions

This is how crystals work. Every time you see, touch and utilize a given crystal, you'll think about its attributes. They provoke us to look within and both realize and truly recognize all that we are and everything we really want.

Make a list. Don't edit. Just begin. I want...

  • love
  • excitement
  • unexpected adventures
  • happiness
  • success
  • acknowledgment
  • insight
  • inspiration
  • joy
  • passion
  • devotion
  • to impact the lives of others positively
  • compassion
  • empathy
  • connection

This is just to get you started. Don't hold back. And if you're open to utilizing crystals for attraction to bring all that you want your way, here are a few extra powerful gemstones to add to your manifestation arsenal:

  1. Rhyolite has properties that help us wade through the waters of old muck each of us carries around. It assists in purging old stories and releasing past mistakes and choices that lead us down paths of rumination and steer us away from our current lives and purpose. Does your self-esteem need a little boost? Right, who among us couldn't benefit from feeling as wonderful about ourselves as we deserve to feel? Crystals for attraction of self-love and appreciation need to be easily reachable. Touch it many times throughout the day as a reminder to be present and embrace the incredible human you are and all of the possibilities waiting for you to explore them.
  2. Kambaba Jasper is a compass. When fears hold us back, this crystal is on the ready to point us in other directions. And even when these new directions scare us, listening to that not so little voice inside telling us to go for it and side-step fear is the north star we need to follow. Wear this gorgeous stone as an amulet protecting you from holding yourself back.
  3. Fluorite offers tranquility. Are you looking for ways to calm your mind, balance your chakras, and renounce negativity? Meditate on these qualities and feel the magic of intention flourish first in your heart and then to the world around you.

We go back to ancient remedies and time-tested natural healers over and over because we want to feel good. No, we want to feel empowered and to know ourselves in ways that better the world. Let's practice together.

 


7 Easy Ways to Spend More Time Outside

7 Easy Ways to Spend More Time Outside

We all make the same excuses for why we can’t spend as much time outside as we’d probably like to. After all, we have to work, clean, commute, and take care of all our daily tasks — leaving little time in between for us to simply get out and enjoy nature.

The truth is that what we’re really doing is prioritizing everything else over our connection to nature. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with prioritizing things like work or family above anything else, but it’s important to be aware that this is what we’re doing when we catch ourselves falling into the "not enough time for it" excuse trap.

Those of us who want to make our connection to nature a bigger priority can do so by combining some of the things we already do (or want to do) with outdoor activity. Here are just a few easy ideas to get you started.

1. Practice yoga and meditation in an outdoor environment.

There’s perhaps no greater way to enjoy the great outdoors as a yogi than by rolling out your mat in your own backyard or by taking your meditation practice to a bench in a nearby park. Your senses will be in for a real treat as they pick up all the sights, sounds, smells, feelings, and perhaps even tastes all around you.

2. Take your meals outside.

Unless it’s raining cats and dogs, there’s always an opportunity to get outside during breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snack time. Ask to sit on the patio at a restaurant, host a barbecue, have lunch at a picnic table in the park, or even sit on the stairs leading up to your front door while you eat.

3. Read or work under the shade of a tree.

Nature is a wonderful source of inspiration and creativity, so any activity that takes a higher level of mental focus can be enhanced by spending more time in any green space. Take your laptop, study material, or books out under a tree or to a shaded picnic table for a nice switch up from your regular indoor work environment.

4. Swap your regular commute for walking or cycling.

If you don’t have a long way to go from point A to point B, why not walk or cycle your way there? Yes, it does take some extra time compared to commuting by car or transit, but that extra activity mean you can shave off some of the time you might need to spend in the gym or on the mat.

5. Take up gardening.

You don’t need a green thumb to be a successful gardener. Planting a single pot of flowers, herbs, or veggies even just right outside your door on your front or back porch can encourage you to spend more time outside than you regularly would.

6. Trade your Netflix subscription for a sunset stroll.

Of course it’s tempting to plop down on the couch after a long day and turn on the TV, but no show or movie compares to the spectacle of light and color that the sun puts on every evening. Weather conditions may not always be ideal for it, but when they are, you should definitely grab a friend or loved one and head out to catch the sun as it says farewell for the day.

7. Find a new outdoor hobby.

Any outdoor hobby or activity that you absolutely love doing will naturally encourage you to get out more often. Whether you decide to take up a completely new sport like kayaking or look to pick up an old hobby from your past like nature photography, embracing any interest that can be done outdoors is a great way to reconnect with yourself and Mother Nature at the same time.


9 Gratitude Mantras to Help You Appreciate Nature

9 Gratitude Mantras to Help You Appreciate Nature

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.” ~ Lord Byron

It's far too easy to take nature for granted. We don’t think twice about all those pieces of plastic trash scattered along the side of the road, we often find ourselves wishing it would just stop raining to avoid getting wet when we go outside, and we gasp in horror at spiders that find their way into our homes.

When we’re always lost in our own little worlds, our awareness is very limited. We don’t even realize that all those plastic pieces of trash will still be sitting there along the side of that road centuries from now if nobody picks it up, we forget that the rain will benefit the farmers fields to grow their crops, and we can’t appreciate that little spider for being just one of 40,000 known species worldwide.

Use the following gratitude mantras to help you expand your awareness and appreciate nature a little more. Whether you choose to write these mantras down, print them out, or have them saved as notes in your smartphone, you can turn to them whenever you like to remind yourself how incredibly amazing and awe-inspiring nature truly is.

Plants

“I am grateful for the silence of the trees, the flowers, the grass, and every aspect of plant life that allows me to quietly and calmly find peace of mind.”

“I am grateful for the the clean air I am able to breathe every day as nature’s life support system works away quietly in the background, turning carbon dioxide into oxygen.”

“I am grateful for the nourishment that every fruit, vegetable, grain, herb, and spice brings my body with every meal and snack.”

Animals

“I am grateful for the vast number of animal species and the delicate roles they each play in our environment.”

“I am grateful for the bees that pollinate our crops, the bugs that help break down and dispose of waste, and yes — even the spiders that feed on common indoor pests like mosquitos, flies, earwigs, and roaches.”

“I am grateful for the birds, the squirrels, the butterflies, and all the other local wildlife species I get to share my own backyard with on a daily basis.”

Weather

“I am grateful for the changing of the seasons and each stage of of the life cycle they represent as I align my own personal journey with each season.”

“I am grateful for the rainy days in the summer that quench the Earth’s thirst for growth, as well as the snowy days in the winter that support the Earth’s rejuvenating slumber.”

“I am grateful for the summer heat as the sun shines its love over me and I am grateful for winter’s chill as all of nature prepares for rebirth upon the return of warmer days ahead.”

 

Feel free to play around with these mantras by customizing them however you like. Shorten them, tailor them to your own interests, or even create your own!


5 Interesting Facts You Didn't Know About Your Heart Chakra

The heart chakra is the fourth chakra in the chakra system, which represents the center of love, compassion, joy, and warmth. That might seem obvious, but the heart chakra goes far beyond just that.

Check out these five interesting facts that will help introduce you to the power of the heart chakra.

 

1. Your heart chakra is not located in your heart, but rather in the middle of your chest.

It’s easy to assume that the heart chakra is in the same place as the heart (the left side of your chest), but it’s actually located in the center of the chest, right beside the heart. The heart chakra is also the middle chakra where the three lower chakras of the solar plexus, the sacral, and the root meet the three higher chakras of the throat, third eye, and crown.

 

2. The heart chakra is associated with the color green.

Modern depictions of hearts are typically associated with the colors red and pink, but when it comes to the heart chakra, it resonates with the color green. This is because all the chakras are energy centers that vibrate at specific levels, which results in specific colors (and also musical notes—that of which is the note of F for the heart chakra).

 

3. The heart chakra’s Sanskrit word Anahata means “unstruck,” “unhurt,” and “unbeaten.”

The heart chakra governs your expression of unconditional love toward yourself and toward others. It’s also your source of compassion, helping you to cultivate love even through some of life’s most tragic events. No matter how you might have suffered in the past or what you might be going through right now, you can count on your heart chakra to radiate unconditional love through it all.

 

4. The heart chakra is not so much about romantic love as it is about unconditional love.

Many people conjure up images of fairy tales and Hollywood movies when they think of love, but this is not the type of unconditional love that the heart chakra governs. The romantic attraction that typically takes place during the beginning stages of relationships are often largely fueled by egoic desire, which may or may not transform into selfless, unconditional love via the heart chakra once the infatuation wears off.

 

5. Your heart chakra is your center for healing.

While all of the seven chakras in the chakra system are important in their own unique ways, the heart chakra plays an especially important role in healing since love is universally recognized as the highest force of healing across various religions and spiritual practices. The unconditional love of the heart chakra helps us become aware that we are all connected and expanding together with the universe in a way that inspires a sense of wholeness, harmony, and peace.

 

A balanced heart chakra will affect and enhance every part of your life—from the way you feel about yourself, to the relationships you have with others. Here are some things you can do to unblock and open your heart chakra if you suspect you might have an under active one.


3 Simple Ideas for Reinventing Your Sense of Self-Love

3 Simple Ideas for Reinventing Your Sense of Self-Love

So maybe you already have a daily yoga practice, or you make sure to feed your body with nutritious foods, or you make sleep a priority in your life. Perhaps you even do all of the above and more!

Despite the incredible benefits of engaging in self loving practices like some of those mentioned above, it’s true that they can begin to feel less engaging over time as they become automatic habits that are simply part of your routine. This, of course, is not necessarily a bad thing!

The goal of self-love after all is to make it a habit. This however doesn't mean you shouldn’t switch things up once in a while and try something new.

Here are just a few simple ways that you can add on to your existing self-love practice and give yourself a little extra dose of novelty.

 

1. Spoil yourself with small, healthy rewards more often.

The easiest way to strengthen your sense of self-love is to treat yourself to small rewards that you don’t get to indulge in very much on a regular basis. Whether it’s because of time constraints, lack of resources, or the simple fact that too much of a good thing can make it bad, these are the things that make you feel good and are relatively healthy for you—but are best saved for special occasions.

Sit down and make a list of some of the rarer small ways you can reward yourself. Schedule them into your calendar so that you treat yourself to one at least every week.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Have an extra piece or two of dark chocolate for dessert
  • Take a 30-minute soak in the tub after a long day
  • Set aside some time to color in a stress-relieving adult colouring book
  • Buy a cute new piece of yoga clothing that you could really use
  • Give yourself an at-home hair mask treatment, facial, self-massage, or manicure/pedicure

 

2. Replace some of the time you spend on passive activities with growth activities.

Passive activities are those mundane daily things that just need to get done no matter what (commuting to work, laundry, brushing your teeth, etc.) as well as those unproductive things that you feel compelled to do out of habit (checking social media, watching TV, reading the news, etc.). Growth activities encompass hobbies and activities that you love to do just for the sake of doing them and that challenge you in some way.

So, for example, you could take a passive activity like the time you spend tuning into Netflix every night and use that as a trigger to first spend 5 to 15 minutes of that time practicing guitar, or teaching yourself a new language. You’ll feel good about yourself when you’re done, and committing to a short amount of time makes it hard to say no.

 

3. Slowly start adopting a minimalist mindset in certain areas of your life.

The more you let go of the things you don’t really need in your life, the more time and energy you’ll be able to devote to the things that truly matter to you. Here are some ways you can start using minimalist practices to increase your sense of self-love:

  • Delete apps from your mobile device that constantly suck up your time
  • Spend 5 minutes a day removing or cleaning up clutter from around your home
  • Experiment with outsourcing a task like laundry, cleaning, bookkeeping or some other time consuming task for at least for 30 days
  • Make a list of your favorite 3 to 7 meals you love to eat and stick with preparing those only for at least 30 days

Minimalism frees up your physical, mental, and emotional energy so you can start valuing yourself more than material things and egocentric achievements. Loving yourself need not be anymore complicated than that!


3 Simple Ways to Unblock and Open Your Heart Chakra

3 Simple Ways to Unblock and Open Your Heart Chakra

With the start of a new year and Valentine’s Day well on its way, it’s natural to feel a strong desire to seek out connections with other people now perhaps more than ever—even if the task seems daunting and you fear the potential risks of vulnerability, awkwardness, disappointment, and even rejection that come with getting close to someone (and letting them get close to you too).

The heart chakra is the energy center that governs your sense of love, compassion, and beauty. Signs of a blocked heart chakra include relationships that feel draining, shyness, loneliness, difficulty forgiving, and difficulty empathizing with others.

By learning to heal and open your heart chakra, you’ll slowly begin to radiate more love, compassion, and beauty from the inside out—in addition to attracting these energetic qualities back to you from the people you surround yourself with.

Here are some things you can do to start clearing those blockages and opening your heart chakra, just in time for the eventual arrival of spring!

 

1. Accept your emotions, express them, and them let go.

At the root of a blocked heart chakra is emotional repression, so if you want to learn to love freely and openly, you have to get in touch with your emotions—including the ones you don’t want to feel. Once you’ve accepted that you’re feeling a certain way, try exploring and expressing them in some of the following ways:

  • Journaling or writing a letter to yourself
  • Meditating
  • Talking out loud to yourself (and you can even cry, scream, or punch a pillow if you need to)
  • Drawing, painting, or doodling
  • Listening to music
  • Creating art

It may take many bouts of emotional expression to fully get everything out, but beware of clinging to your emotions and getting stuck in a never-ending cycle of emotional turmoil rather than choosing to let them go. If the way you’re feeling and expressing yourself starts to feel more like a bad habit than a natural healing process, it’s time to consciously choose to put your emotions behind you so you can move forward.

 

2. Show your love to yourself, another person, animal, or Mother Nature in one small way every single day.

Small daily actions account for big changes over time. If you can strive to take just one small action every day that’s an expression of love, it can become a habit that has the power to completely transform your heart energy center for the better.

Here are a few suggested small daily actions you could take:

  • Hug your partner/spouse or tell them something you love about them
  • Call your mom or other relative
  • Check in with an old friend over Facebook or text message to see how they’re doing (and maybe ask to meet and catch up)
  • Play with your dog or take him/her for a nice long walk
  • Put a bird feeder out in a safe area of your yard
  • Pick up one piece of trash in any public place and bring it to the trash or recycle bin

 

3. Practice chest opening yoga poses.

When it comes to healing and opening your heart chakra, don’t forget to integrate it with your yoga practice! Since the heart chakra is located in the center of the chest, chest opening poses are ideal for opening and strengthening this energy center.

Poses you’ll want to incorporate into your practice include:

  • Sphinx pose (Salamba Bhujangasana)
  • Cobra pose (Bhujangasana)
  • Upward facing dog pose (Urdhva mukha svanasana)
  • Cow pose (Bitilasana)
  • Fish pose (Matsyasana)
  • Locust pose (Salabhasana)
  • Bow pose (Dhanurasana)
  • Camel pose (Ustrasana)
  • Upward bow pose (Urdhva Dhanurasana)