With Valentine’s Day just behind us what a great reminder to nurture ourselves and fill up with love, love for ourselves and love for one another. Start your practice with these gentle heart opening salutations to allow the love to flow inside and out.
Inhale, breath deep, bring your hands to heart center, stay for the exhale.
Inhale Interlace your fingers, exhale press your hands away from heart.
Inhale arms up overhead biceps with the ears, exhale hands behind your back, interlace the fingers, lift the chest and open the heart.
Stay for the exhale releasing anything that no longer serves you.
Inhale arms up overhead, palms together gaze at the fingers; exhale hands to your heart.
Repeat these heart opening salutations 3-5 times.
If you are looking for a stronger heart opening, try these backbends to deepen your practice and open your heart. We can often feel heighten sensations and emotions when we work deep with intentions to open, release and let go. Be gentle with yourself and always listen to your body and your heart.
Start slow and warm up with Bound Bridge Pose. Feet are hip width apart, parallel, with knees stacked over the ankles. Arms by your side fingers graze the heels. Exhale releasing all the air, inhale curl the tailbone up, press down through the feet and lift the hips high. Begin to reach for your heels thumbs inside fingertips outside. Continue pressing down through the feet and lifting the hips high. Gaze is soft and up. Heart is open, breath is normal. Hold here for 5-10 breaths. Exhale slowly lower down all the way to your back. Repeat as needed.
full wheel pose
For a deeper back bend and more heart opening, try Full Wheel Pose.
Feet hip width distance and parallel, knees over ankles, finger tips in line with the tops of the shoulders thumbs by the ears. Inhale deeply, exhale, let it go. Inhale keep the forearms parallel and the elbows back as you press up through the hands and the feet and let the hips soar high into this juicy back bend. Keep lifting the heart up and back working to straighten the arms. Keep energetically squeezing the legs together to keep 6 inches between the feet, knees and thighs. Breath is normal. Hold here for 5-10 breaths and slowly lower down tucking the chin to the chest and lower all the way down to the back, keep the forearms parallel as you release down. Repeat as needed.
Here is one more deep, intense heart opener that is sure to get the loving juices flowing, camel pose. Start on knees, with 6 inches between you knees and feet. Bring your hands to your low back, fingers towards the gluts, thumbs outside. Bring the elbows closer together behind your body. Shoulders down away from the ears. Inhale deeply, push your hips forward and lift your chest up. Drop your head and look back. Continuously keep pushing your hips forward and lifting your chest up. Stay here and breathe. If you would like to move further, bring your hands down to the heels one by one, fingers inside, thumbs outside. Take a deep breath in, lift your chest and press you stomach, hips and legs forward as far as possible. Eyes open, mouth closed, breath is normal. Stay here for 5-15 breaths or for as long as your body calls for it. Enjoying every moment of this intense backbend to open your heart and let your love shine through. Repeat as needed.
“Dedicate yourself to Love. Decide to let Love be your intention, your purpose, and your point. And then let Love inspire you, support you and guide you in every other dedication you make thereafter.”
– Robert Holden