I am usually great at protecting my heart. I do it in daily life by hiding and traveling inward. It is easier to thicken my layers than it is to slough them off. However, when I go to yoga class, when I practice yoga on my own, when I talk about yoga with others, my heart does this little leap and tells me I’ve got this. And my layers begin to fall.
Here is one of my favorite sequences with four poses to open the heart. Take your time with them.
Brahmari with hand on heart
Place hands over the heart until you feel its beat. Inhale. On your exhale, close the lips and hum the closest note to the sound of your heart. Make the humming so loud that it fills up your body, your mind, the room. Play with the note, making it high or low until it feels like it matches the resonance of your heart in this moment. Continue for 10 breaths.
Bridge with hands clasped
Lie supine, bend knees so that feet are flat on the floor, press hips up to the sky, and squeeze knees in like you’re squeezing a block between your inner thighs (place block between thighs if you’d like). Wiggle shoulders close together until you can clasp a strap or hands together under the lower back. As you pull the strap, feel the shoulders open and breathe as the shoulder blades meet. Stay for 5-10 breaths.
Warrior I with archer arms
With warrior I legs (left leg forward), take a strap and reach left arm straight up, holding a strap. Reach right arm down, bend elbow and place back of right hand as high up the back towards the shoulder blades as you can. Bend top elbow and extend hands towards each other. Clasp strap in each hand. Inhale into left shoulder, exhale sent left tricep straight up. As you pull hands away from each other, you will feel a deep stretch across tops of shoulders and mid-back. Stay for 5-10 breaths. Switch sides.
Baddhakonasana on back
Lie supine, bring soles of feet together to touch, like in prayer, and let knees fall open. Place block under the shoulderblades so it’s parallel to your spine (choose your block height) and let arms rest where they rest. Breathe slowly into the heart of slowly out of the heart. Feel what it’s like for the heart to be lifted above the body.
By Fae Leslie Hoffman; All Rights Reserved @2018