Heart Opening Yoga Sequence

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A written version of this yoga sequence is below.

by Meg O’Connell

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and I often get caught up in all of the festivities of the holiday, especially with children. It is also wonderful, while celebrating all of this love, to take the time to love on yourself. With all of the emotional events that we experience and witness, we close off part of our emotional capacity to ourselves and to others. We physically let go of our posture and emotionally feel tapped out. So, take a little time to focus on yourself. When you take the time to nurture yourself, you will feel more love in the world for yourself and for your loved ones. Feel your capacity to love grow!

Enjoy this short Heart Opening Sequence:

  1. Chest Opening with the Breath
    You can take this seated in Easy Pose or in Mountain Pose. Interlace your fingers at your heart center and inhale.  As you exhale, extend the arms forward and reach through your palms, letting the upper back round. Stay in the position for your next inhale, then with your exhale, separate your hands and reach the elbows back behind you. Then repeat this 3-5 times.
  2. Threading the Needle Twist
    Come onto your hands and knees, with the knees being just slightly wider than the hips. With your inhale, extend you right arm up to the ceiling and with your exhale, thread the arm back under the left. Repeat this 4 times and then switch to the left side.
  3. Supported Side Arm with bound ankle
    Still on your hands and knees (bring the knees right back under the hips), extend your right leg back, you can keep this foot on the ground or lift it. Float your left foot slightly out and inhale the right arm up to the ceiling, opening the chest and hips. Once you have your balance, bring your right hand to your right foot and press the foot into the hand, spiraling the chest open. Stay for 3-5 breaths. Repeat on the left.
  4. Down Dog with bent knees
    Instead of working with the hamstrings, really focus on the chest. Keep the knees bent and really draw the chest back to the thighs. You can sway, twist —  whatever feels best to you. Take 5 breaths.
  5. Warrior 2 with bound hands
    Bring your right foot through into a lunge and pivot your left foot to the ground. Draw energy into the legs and then lift the hands and open the arms into Warrior 2. The chest and hips are now open to the right. Make sure there is life in the left foot. Bring your hands behind the back and interlace the fingers. Take a full breath in and fold at the hip to the inside of the right knee. Press the back of the hands up to the ceiling and let the head go. Try to keep the spin long. Stay for 5 Breaths. Transition back into your lunge and step back into your down dog. Repeat with your left leg.
  6. Cobra into Childs Pose
    From Down dog, lower your knees back to the ground. With your inhale, bring the hips forward, lowering them towards the ground and bringing your shoulders over your palms. The elbows might stay bent or straighten depending on your back and how it feels. With your exhale, draw the hips back to the heels. With your inhale bring the hips forward and open back up into Cobra, then exhale into child’s pose. Take this movement 3-5 times and then rest back into child’s pose. Bring your arms down to your side and take 3 breaths into the back of the heart. Feel your chest and belly expand against your thighs.
  7. Supported Spinal Savasana
    Take a blanket or towel and fold it so that it is long and skinny. Bring one end to the base of your spine. With the soles of the feet on the ground, roll the spine down along the roll. Let the shoulders roll over each side and the head should be supported by the blanket as well, so you might need a second blanket or block. Let the arms rest to the side or extend them over your head and then bend the elbows, resting the back of the forearm and hand on the ground. You can extend the legs if that is comfortable for you and let the toes fall open. Stay for 3-5 minutes, or as long as you want!


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