Unveiling the Anahatasana: The Melting Heart Yoga Pose that Rejuvenates the Soul

Anahatasana: The Heart of the Matter

The soulful world of Anahatasana, known in English as the Melting Heart Pose, is a testament to yoga’s nurturing and healing potential. Thus making it a staple of Yin Yoga Practices. 

The term ‘Anahata’ denotes the heart chakra, the seat of compassion, love, and empathy, making this pose a profound expression of these attributes. 

The Melting Heart Pose: A Deeper Dive into Meaning

Anahatasana encourages the heart to metaphorically ‘melt’ or open, allowing the practitioner to experience deep emotional release and spiritual awakening. This yogic posture represents a profound letting go of all emotional baggage, grudges, and inner turmoil.

Anahatasana Pose vs Uttana Shishosana Pose: Understanding the Difference

While Anahatasana emphasizes opening the heart and chest area, Uttana Shishosana, or the Puppy Pose, focuses more on stretching the spine and shoulders. The Melting Heart Pose, with its deeper chest and shoulder opening, can offer a more intense emotional release than the Puppy Pose.

Finding Solace in the Anahatasana Pose

In the Anahatasana pose, the practitioner kneels on the mat, stretches their arms forward, and bends at the hips, allowing the chest to sink toward the ground. This pose is a beautiful balance of surrender and strength, as the body yields to gravity while maintaining a strong, grounded base.

woman doing yin yoga on a mat. She's doing Anahatasana Pose the melting heart pose. a yoga pose in yin yoga
Allow the Chest to Sink Toward the Ground Letting your Heart "Melt"

Exploring Anahatasana Pose Variations

For those seeking to explore deeper into the realm of Anahatasana, various modifications and props are available to accommodate different body types and flexibility levels. For instance, a bolster or folded blanket under the chest can offer extra support for those with tighter shoulders or chest muscles. Moreover, practitioners can experiment with the placement of their arms – either stretched out in front or alongside the body – to find what feels best for them.

The Yin Side of Anahatasana Pose

Anahatasana or the Melting Heart Yin Yoga Pose is held longer, typically for three to five minutes. Holding the pose longer allows a deep, meditative focus and aids in releasing connective tissues, especially around the shoulders and spine. The extended hold in this pose also offers a unique opportunity to practice mindfulness and introspection as the practitioner surrenders and sinks deeper into this melting Heart Yin Yoga pose with each breath.

The Correct Anahatasana Pronunciation

To pronounce Anahatasana correctly, break it into four syllables: “A-na-ha-ta-sa-na.” The stress falls on the second syllable, the “na.”

The Gifts of Anahatasana: Benefits

Anahatasana yoga pose is a gift that keeps on giving. Its benefits range from physical to emotional and mental. Physically, it’s an excellent pose for opening the shoulders, upper back, and chest, promoting better posture and respiratory health. The pose causes excellent compression for the upper back and mildly stresses the lower spine and shoulder/humerus joint. It also stretches the spine and stimulates the abdominal organs, aiding digestion.

This pose is a beautiful backbend for the upper and middle back and also opens up the shoulders nicely, promoting flexibility. In addition, it softens the heart, promotes emotional healing, and contributes to mental calmness, stress reduction, and anxiety relief.

On the emotional and mental front, the pose encourages the release of stored emotions, promotes calmness, and aids in stress and anxiety reduction by fostering an environment of self-acceptance and surrender. Regular practice of Anahatasana can lead to increased emotional resilience and an enhanced capacity for empathy and compassion.

Anahatasana Pose Contraindications: Practicing Safely

While the Melting Heart Yin Yoga Pose can be deeply therapeutic, consider these specific contraindications for safe practice. For example, people with severe shoulder or neck injuries, high blood pressure, or pregnant women, especially in their third trimester, should avoid this pose.

If you have a bad neck, this pose could strain it. Also, be aware of any tingling in the hands or fingers! Tingling is often a sign of nerve compression; if we continue to compress it, we may permanently damage it. Adjust the arm and hand positions, or skip the pose if you feel tingling. As with all yoga poses, listening to your body and avoiding any position that causes pain or discomfort is essential.

Getting into Anahatasana Pose

To get into Anahatasana Yoga Pose:

  1. Begin on your hands and knees.
  2. Walk your hands forward, allowing your chest to drop toward the floor.
  3. Keep your hips right above your knees and your hands shoulder-width apart.

Alternatives & Options to Melting Heart Yoga Pose

Try moving hands further apart or bending elbows if you experience shoulder pain that prevents the arms from going overhead. If you’re flexible, you can bring the chin to the floor and look ahead, but be cautious as this could strain the neck. If knees are uncomfortable here, place a blanket underneath them. Another alternative, try tucking the toes under and resting your chest on a bolster, allowing the body to relax. You can also do Anahatasana with one arm forward at a time, resting the head on the other forearm.

Try placing blocks under your forearms to stress the shoulders to add a little spice to Melting Heart Yin Yoga Pose.

man doing yoga pose Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana) for shoulder pain. Kevin Parenteau Yin Yoga. anahatasana vs uttana shishosana
Add a little Spice to Melting Heart Pose

Recommended Hold Times

The recommended hold time for Anahatasana in the Yin Yoga Practice is three to five minutes. However, if you’re resting your chin on the floor, the hold may need to be shorter. Carefully watch the sensations in the neck while doing the Melting Heart Yin Yoga Pose.

Coming Out of Anahatasana Pose

To come out of Anahatasana, move back into Child’s Pose or slide forward onto your belly.

Counter Yoga Poses

Lying on your stomach or in Child’s Pose (balasana) can be nice here. Since this posture is a backbend, Child’s Pose (knees and feet together version) is excellent Anahatasana counterpose because it is a soft forward fold. Alternatively, sit on your side, bring your legs around front and do a gentle seated forward bend (Paschimottanasana)

woman at home doing a 30 day yoga challenge performing child pose in casual clothing in front of computer. childs pose is a counterpose to anahatasana pose melting heart pose yin yoga
Child's Pose is a Great Anahatasana Counter Pose

The Chakras Affected by Anahatasana Pose

Anahatasana Yin Yoga Pose intertwines with the chakras, the energy centers in our bodies. It targets two important chakras: the Anahata (Heart) Chakra and the Vishuddha (Throat) Chakra.

Anahata (Heart) Chakra

As the name suggests, Anahatasana primarily stimulates the Anahata, or Heart Chakra, located in the center of the chest. This chakra is associated with love, compassion, and emotional balance. By opening the heart area, Anahatasana encourages energy flow through this chakra, helping to release emotional blockages and promote a sense of peace and well-being.

Chakra Symbols, Heart Chakra - ANAHATA - Acceptance, Love, Compassion, Sincerity - "I LOVE" Green color. the 4th of 7 chakras. associated with anahatasana pose or melting heart pose in yin yoga
The term 'Anahata' denotes the heart chakra, the seat of compassion, love, and empathy

Vishuddha (Throat) Chakra

The second chakra influenced by Anahatasana Pose is the Vishuddha, or Throat Chakra, which links with communication and self-expression. As the chest and throat are stretched and opened in this pose, it encourages better energy flow through the Vishuddha Chakra, potentially enhancing one’s ability to communicate and express themselves effectively.

The alignment of these chakras brought about by practicing Anahatasana yoga pose can lead to a harmonious energy balance, contributing to overall emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. As you practice this pose, visualize the energy flowing through these chakras, illuminating your being with love, empathy, and self-expression.

Meridians & Organs Affected by Anahatasana Pose

Meridians, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), are pathways in the body through which life energy, known as “qi” or “chi,” flows. Certain yoga poses, including Anahatasana, can stimulate these pathways, affecting the associated organs.

Urinary Bladder Meridian

Anahatasana Yin Yoga Pose causes compression along the spine, stimulating the Urinary Bladder Meridian. This meridian, which runs along the back of the body, is directly linked to the urinary bladder organ and indirectly to the kidneys through the water element in TCM. Therefore, practicing Anahatasana may support the health of the urinary system and kidney functions, such as fluid regulation.

Stomach and Spleen Meridians

If you feel the stretch in the chest while practicing Anahatasana, your Stomach and Spleen meridians are being stimulated. The Stomach Meridian is associated with the intake, digestion, and distribution of food and nutrients, while the Spleen Meridian links with transforming those nutrients into energy.

Stimulating these meridians in Anahatasana could therefore support digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall energy levels. In addition, in TCM, the spleen connects to the emotions of worry and overthinking, so stimulating this meridian could promote mental and emotional balance.

Heart and Lung Meridians

Anahatasana can also stimulate the Heart and Lung meridians in the arms. The Heart Meridian is associated with blood circulation and emotional states, particularly joy and happiness. The Lung Meridian is related to respiratory function and the emotions of grief and sadness.

Through the stretch and opening in the arms and chest in Anahatasana, energy flow can be improved in these meridians, potentially supporting cardiovascular and respiratory health and promoting emotional balance and well-being.

Embracing Anahatasana the Melting Heart Pose

Anahatasana Yin Yoga Pose is a journey into the self. As we surrender in the pose, we allow our hearts to open, releasing stored tension and making space for new growth and healing. Through practice, we enhance our physical well-being and cultivate greater self-awareness, compassion, and inner peace. So, unroll your yoga mat, let your heart melt in Anahatasana, and embark on a journey of self-discovery and healing.


Bernie Clark 


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