Heart and Chest

This 27 step sequence of yoga postures was designed to open the heart and lungs and to stretch the muscles in the chest. Level: Beginner to Intermediate.
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1. Start in Mountain with the palms together

yoga poseA. Have the feet together or 2-3 inches apart, parallel, facing forward.

B. Palms are lightly pressed together with the shoulders down and back and the chest pressing in towards the thumbs. Crown of the head lifts up, chin is parallel to the floor.

C. Breathe and hold for 10-15 breaths.

2. Inhale and sweep the arms up with palms together

yoga pose A. Stay in Mountain alignment.

B. Look up at the thumbs.

C. Lift out of the waist, reaching up towards the sky.

3. Exhale into Forward Fold

yoga postureA. Press the palms flat to the floor, if necessary bend the knees slightly. If you are flexible enough, bring the fingertips in line with the toes.

B. Press the forehead in towards the legs.

4. Inhale and lift into Upward Forward Fold

yoga posture A. Lift half way up with the arms, legs and back straight.

B. The fingertips are touching the floor or you can place the palms on the shins or knees.

C. Lift the chest and look up as high as comfortable.

5. Repeat # 3 and #4 moving with the breath 3-4 times

6. Inhale and step the right foot back into High Lunge

yoga poseA. Make sure the left knee is directly over the ankle.

B. Shoulders are down and back, chest presses forward, crown lifts up and the back leg is straight.

7. Lower the back knee and inhale the arms up into Low Warrior

yoga postureA. Keep the front foot between the two hands with the knee directly over the ankle. Lower the back knee and top of foot to the floor.

B. Press the legs down into the floor as you lift out of the waist reaching the crown and fingertips up towards the ceiling. Relax the shoulders down from the ears and press the chest forward.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-5 breaths.

8. Exhale the palms together and inhale into Half Prayer Twist

yoga postureA. Exhale the palms together in front of your chest. Bring the right elbow to the outside edge of the left knee.

B. Press into the palms to roll the top shoulder up and back. Look at the right wall or up at the ceiling.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

9. Come into Table position on your hands and knees

yoga postureA. Place the palms under the shoulders and the knees under the hips.

B. The back is flat and the gaze is between the hands.

C. Press back through the tailbone and forward through the crown of the head to lengthen the spine.

10. Inhale into Dog Tilt

yoga postureA. Reach the tailbone up towards the ceiling by arching the spine and letting the belly drop towards the floor.

B. Press down into the palms to drop the shoulders away from the ears and look up at the ceiling.

11. Exhale into Cat Tilt

yoga postureA. Tuck the tailbone under by rounding the spine and pulling the belly up towards the spine.

B. Press down into the palms to reach the middle of the back up towards the ceiling. Let the head hang from the neck.

12. From Table, reach back into One Handed Tiger

yoga postureA. From Table pose, exhale reach the right foot up towards the ceiling. Staring at a point straight ahead, shift your weight into your right hand and carefully reach the left hand to hold onto the inside of the right ankle.

B. With both arms straight, gently kick the right foot into the left arm to lift the leg higher.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

13. Step both feet back into Downward Facing Dog

yoga postureA. Tuck the toes under, bend the elbows and lift the hips up and back.

B. Press firmly into the hands and arms to press the hips back. Let the head hang from the neck. Press the heels into the floor. The legs are straight or can be slightly bent to flatten the back.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.

14. Repeat # 6 through #13 on the other side.

15. Step forward into Forward Fold

yoga postureA. Press the palms flat to the floor, if necessary bend the knees slightly. If you are flexible enough, bring the fingertips in line with the toes.

B. Press the forehead in towards the legs.

C. Breathe and hold for 1-4 breaths.

16. Inhale into Mountain with arms overhead

yoga poseA. Have the feet together or 2-3 inches apart, parallel, facing forward.

B. Reach the arms over head and look up at the thumbs. Lift out of the waist, reaching up towards the sky.

C. Breathe and hold for 1-4 breaths.

17. Exhale into Cresent Moon

yoga posture A. Interlace the fingers together with the index finger pointing up. Press down into the feet, engage the legs and core body and lift up through the fingers.

B. Exhale and press the left hip out and arch over to the right.

C. Breathe and hold for 1-3 breaths.

D. Inhale up and repeat on other side.

18. Exhale into Standing Back Bend

yoga postureA. Place the palms on the low back with the fingers pointed down. Press down into the feet, engage the legs and core body.

B. Exhale and press the hips forward and use the arms to support you as you arch back. Look up or carefully drop the head back.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

D. Inhale and slowly roll back up to Mountain.

19. From Mountain, exhale into Standing Yoga Mudra

yoga postureA. Interlace the fingers behind your back, squeeze the shoulders together and open the chest.

B. Exhale and hinge at the hips rounding forward. Let the head hang from the neck and press the arms forward over the head.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

D. Release the arms to your back and down to the floor.

20. Exhale into Forward Fold

yoga postureA. Press the palms flat to the floor, if necessary bend the knees slightly. If you are flexible enough, bring the fingertips in line with the toes.

B. Press the forehead in towards the legs.

C. Breathe and hold for 1-4 breaths.

21. Widen the feet and bend the knees into Prayer Squat

yoga postureA. Walk the feet out wider with the toes pointing out. Exhale and bend the knees lowering the hips into a squatting position. Bring the palms together in front of the heart.

B. Press the palms together to press the elbows into the knees to open the hips. Roll the shoulders down and back and press the chest forward. Close the eyes and stare at the third eye point.

C. Breathe and hold for 3-6 breaths.

22. Release the hands behind you and inhale into Crab Pose

yoga postureA. Bring the hands behind your hips with the fingers pointed towards the back wall and point the toes forward. Inhale and lift the hips up towards the ceiling, look up or drop the head back.

B. Press into the hands and feet using strong arms and legs to lift the hips and chest up.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-4 breaths.

D. Release the hips to the floor.

23. Bring the bottoms of the feet together into Supine Bound Angle

yoga postureA. Bring the bottoms of the feet together with the heels close to the hips on the floor. Inhale the arms over head with the palms together.

B. Relax and let gravity pull you into the posture. If the hips feel very tight, gently rock the hips from side to side.

C. Breathe and hold for 6-12 breaths.

24. Release the arms and legs and inhale into Fish

yoga postureA. Release the legs straight and slide the arms alongside of the torso with the palms down. Rock the hips from side to side to slide the palms under the lower buttocks.

B. Bend the elbows intowards your sides and use the arms to lift the chest and arch the spine lightly resting the crown of the head on the floor.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-5 breaths.

25. Bend the knees into Wind Relieving Pose

yoga postureA. Bend the knees into the chest and wrap the arms around them, holding on to the elbows, wrists or fingers.

B. Press the tailbone, shoulders and back of the neck down into the floor as you pull the knees in to feel a stretch in the low back.

C. Breathe and hold for 2-5 breaths.

26. Exhale and release into Shavasana

yoga postureA. Let the arms and legs flop out to the sides. The arms are 6-8 inches from the sides of your body and the palms are facing up.

B. Close the eyes and consciously relax the body from the toes to the crown of the head.

C. Breathe deeply through the nose into the belly and hold for 10-15 minutes.

27. End in Easy Pose

yoga postureA. Bend the knees and slowly roll over to one side. Press up into a seated position.

B. Inhale and press the hips down and reach the crown up to lengthen the spine. Roll the shoulders down and back to open the chest. Relax the face and rest the tongue on the roof of the mouth.

C. Lengthen the inhalation and exhalation by breathing deeply into the belly through the nose. Release any thoughts or distractions and let the mind be focused on the breath.

Optional:  use the Heart Chakra Meditation.

D. Breathe and hold for 10-30 breaths.

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