There's always a lot of talk about the heart -- both as a physical organ and as our spiritual centre.
In yogic philosophy, the heart (also known as the heart chakra) represents healing, compassion and our emotional core. Generally, chakras are either "open" or "closed" (or some degree in between). It's believed an "open" heart means a person is more centred, compassionate and loving.
Physically, the heart area (the chest) houses many muscles that are prone to tightness, especially during winter months (when we hunch our shoulders against the cold and traverse icy sidewalks).
Whether you're looking to release tension in your upper body or want to cultivate some extra love and compassion, here is a sequence of four yoga postures to stretch, strengthen and "open" your heart.
Annabel Fitzsimmons is a writer, runner, yoga and Pilates teacher and a mother of two young children. Her online yoga, Pilates and meditation studio is at www.clearspaceonline.com. She blogs -- as MeditatingMummy -- about taking yoga off the mat and into motherhood. Contact her by adding a comment below.