Free Yoga Sequence ~Heart Opening
We will be posting free sequences bimonthly! These sequences are meant for all audiences* to practice safely at home. These sequences are meant to aid or inspire your home practice. Feel free to add on to this sequence to make it yours! A solid warm up and at least 5-10 minute Savasana is encouraged.
This week: It’s always a god time to practice how to give love and open up to the world around you & also to open the back body to be able to receive love and appreciation from others. Take a moment and notice how you hold your shoulders, front of your chest and sternum, and the back of your shoulders and heart. Do your shoulders tend to curl in towards each other? Do your shoulders pull back forcing your chest to bellow out? Notice this, and consider how you are able to accept love and how you love others. Practice this sequence with mindfulness to the heart.
Knees to Chest -Variation
Start laying on your back feet drawn towards the corners of your mat and your arms about 30 degrees away from the body. Inhale and stretch the arms up overhead, and the toes point forward. Exhale and draw the knees into the chest, giving them a big hug. Gently rock side to side, bring attention to the upper back around the thoracic spine… travel down as you rock to the lower back or lumbar spine. Relax your legs and arms a bit so that your sacrum can be grounded. Inhale and draw the knees in close again. Inhale and lift your head off the mat, and bring your head to your heart. Round the shoulders to open the back of the heart and neck. Breath here and on an exhale stretch the body out again with arms overhead and toes flexing forward. Play with this 3 more times.
Mt. Pose w/ Back bend
Come to standing with your arms by your side palms facing forward. Release your shoulders down the spine, make your hips level. Check to see if your pelvis is protruding forward, or if your bum is sticking out. Take a few breaths and feel your feet rooting into the Earth. Inhale and bring your arms up to the sky; bring your palms together for prayer hands. Exhale and slightly draw the back of your heart up to the sky and slightly back. Inhale come back to center, exhale and bring your hands to hear center. Repeat this back-bending sequence 7 times.
Warrior 1 -Variation
From Mountain pose, inhale and step the left foot back slightly angled (about 45- 60 degrees). You’ll want your feet about 3-4 feet apart, depending on your body. Take a moment and see if your hip bones are evenly positioned to the front short edge of the mat. Remember, this is a practice. Inhale and bring the arms up overhead exhale bring the arms down to cactus arms (or goal posts). Inhale and bring the tips of the shoulder blades down and in towards each other as if they were kissing; this will bring your heart forward. Keep the palms facing front nice and strong. Exhale and sink into the hips deeper. Inhale and bring the shoulder blades together, exhale and come back to center. Repeat this with the arm/ shoulder motion 7 times. Inhale and and step back to Mountain pose and repeat on the other side.
From Warrior 1, re-adjust your back foot outside edge to be parallel to the short edge of your mat and keep the toes of your front foot are pointing towards the short edge. Inhale and bring your arms to “T”; relax the shoulders but hold strong. Take the gaze over the middle finger of your front arm; exhale and bend into the front knee a little deeper as you settle in the pose. Inhale and interlace your fingers together, exhale and hinge out from your hips and bring your heart to your thigh. You can position your body in a few ways here… bring your heart to thigh, right shoulder to inside or right thigh, or head all the way down to the mat. Let the arms fall overhead. You can also have your arms in reverse prayer pose; remember if your palms start to split away from each other use a different hand variation to prevent injury. Hold here for 5 breaths, inhale and come back to warrior 2. Repeat on the other side.
Come to standing at the front of your mat in Mountain Pose. Bring your hips a little wider than hip with for Yoga squat. Exhale and sink your hips down in the middle of your heels. Inhale and bring your palms together at your heart center. Take a few breaths here. Inhale and reach your arms forward, exhale and come up on your tippy-toes as you draw your arms back and snug your knees as close to your armpits as you can. Inhale and lean forward, hands flat and grounded, start to draw your hips knees towards each other as you lean and shift your weight to come on your hands. Start with lifting one foot up and then the other. Keep your big toes drawing in together and the keens squeezing towards each other, rounding out the back. And Breath. Play around with this for a minute or hold for 5-7 breaths.
From crow: you can plop on to your belly or shoot back into plank pose & slowly Chaturanga down and rest on your belly. Bring your elbows under your shoulders. Inhale and reach back through the feet as you lengthen and lift your heart forward and up. Start to put pressure on your forearms as you squeeze your shoulders and mid-back towards your spine. Keep your heart reaching forward and lengthening your spine and legs. Keep the tops of your feet grounded to the mat and pull in energy from your pelvic floor. Breath here in Sphinx for 5-7 breaths.
For this pose you will need either a folded blanket, bolster, or a couple pillows. Fold your blanket 3 or 4 times so that you have a cushion of a least 2 inches. Have no more than 8 inches if using a pillow or bolster.
Place your blanket or bolster towards the middle-back of the mat. Sit in front of your bolster with the base of your spine touching the bolster. You can have your legs long, bent knees, or easy cross-legged position. Slowly lower your spine down onto the bolster. You should be fully supported from the base of your spine to the edge of your shoulders; your head should relax back freely. You can drop your arms along side of you, or in a way where your are able to release and relax. Keep your legs the same or re-adjust them so that you can relax. Your heart and back should both feel a gentle opening. Rest here for 4-7 minutes. Relax in Savasana after your Fish pose for 5-10 minutes.
*We hope everyone will try these sequences, but keep in mind your body. Prevent injury by listening to how your body feels today, and by the sound of your breath. Do what feels right for you! Be safe and have a blast!