Makarasana: Yoga for opening of the heart chakra

By Atul Vyas

When the heart chakra is blocked, people often experience a kind of pressure against their chest, as if someone was pushing down against it. The tissue around the area may turn sore or tender to touch specially over the sternum. The shoulders may round forward in projection or the heart area may collapse from lack of energy, indicating a fourth chakra deficiency, partial or full blockade of the chakra.

Yoga for the heart chakra seeks to remedy this by strengthening the heart by opening the chest and the upper back and by working with the breath. The result is more spaciousness in the heart chakra area, more freedom and relaxation through the chest and shoulders, more softness, and more room for love and joy. In this way, subtle energy is activated in the fourth chakra to open it fully.

There are many interventions in yoga to open fourth or ‘heart chakra’. One of them is ‘Makarasana’ or crocodile pose.

In this pose, the elbows and arms protect the heart, which allows the back to release stress. This allows you to arch the spine without effort or strain resulting in an effortless restorative pose that truly softens the heart.


  • Lie on the belly with legs out behind
  • Lift the head and join the base of the palms beneath the chin, with elbows out in front, resetting the weight of the head on the hands
  • Allow the back and chest to relax
  • Breath normally
  • Hold the pose for as long as it is comfortable


  • Activates energies in heart chakra and opens, or unblock it
  • Very restful for heart
  • Eases back pain
  • Softens both, body and mind
  • Good for asthma
  • Helps realign the vertebrae

Note of caution

Pregnant women should avoid this pose.


Atul Vyas likes to be called a “Yoga Scientist”. He is a celebrity yoga trainer and has trained several top Hollywood and Bollywood stars. He has trained for years under many eminent yoga gurus including his illustrious mother Daya Vyas, the first lady yoga guru of India.

Images courtesy of SY and Times Now