There are only two things one can truly give, time and love. As our life clocks tick down, time is our most valuable resource. Love is equally valued, allowing us to truly connect with one another and ourselves in the present moment. Whether we choose to access this loving presence or not, it is there, waiting to be experienced. I hope this Valentine’s Day you will give yourself time to connect and befriend the heart’s desires with this heart opening sequence.
May we listen to our hearts and honor our connection to the hearts of others.
Each posture is traditionally practiced for 4-8 breath cycles. Feel free to make this shorter or longer, depending on your individual needs.
Begin in Easy Seated Pose, placing a bolster or block under the sit bones for comfort. Allow the hands to rest on the knees or thighs with palms facing up. Bring your awareness to the breath, the space in the chest, and your heart (2-5 minutes).
Bring your hands in front of the heart. Open the index, middle, and ring fingers while keeping the thumb and pinky fingers touching, creating the Lotus Mudra. Create an intention for your practice. Maybe one of connectedness, forgiveness, or befriending.
Remove the bolster or block from underneath the sit bones. Forward fold over crossed legs, breathing into and opening the back heart space and hips. Follow the forward fold with a gentle twist. Repeat by uncrossing and recrossing the legs and twisting to the opposite side.
Move onto the hands and knees for Cat/Cow, opening the chest as you inhale, exhale and round the back, opening the back heart space.
Come to standing in the middle of the mat, move into modified Standing Side Stretch or Cresent. Do this by stepping the left foot behind the right, grabbing the left wrist with the right hand, and pulling the wrist to the right. Feel this stretch from the left foot through the entire side body, up to the left hand. Repeat on opposite side.
Come to Mountain at the top of the mat, moving into Low Lunge, keeping the toes tucked. Open the arms wide, opening the heart. Visualize yourself greeting a loved one at the airport – arms opened wide for a loving embrace. Repeat on opposite side.
Move into Warrior 2, beginning with fingers interlaced behind the back, rolling the shoulders back and opening the chest. After 4-5 breath cycles, switch hands into the traditional position, arms reaching out to the front and back. Move from there into Side Angle. Feel the energy from the back foot all the way out the arm. Move gaze to the sky. Breath. Repeat on opposite side.
Move into Warrior 1. Interlace the fingers behind the back, opening the chest, creating space. Gracefully bow the head for Humble Warrior with the gaze at the belly button. Lift the back foot off the ground, moving into Warrior 3. Hands can remain interlaced behind the back or in front of the chest in Prayer Position. Feel open, strong and balanced here.
Winding down from these heated postures, move into modified Lizard Pose by first coming into Low Lunge, left foot forward, and walking the foot out to the outer edge of the mat. Place your right hand on the mat, reaching back for the right foot with the left hand. If this is too much of a quadriceps stretch, use a strap around the foot. Focus your breath on the heart space. Repeat on opposite side.
Come into Quarter Dog by tucking the toes, coming onto the knees, and reaching the hands toward the front of the mat. Allow the forehead or third eye to touch the ground. Feel the openness and space in the chest and heart. Repeat the mantra, “My heart is open to give and receive unconditional love”.
Come onto the belly for Full Body Staff Pose. Place the hands above the head in prayer position. Come back to the intention set at the beginning of class. Relax and feel supported by the earth. Breath.
One may move into a traditional Savasana (Corpse Pose) or remain here for 2-5 minutes.
Come back to a comfortable seated position when ready. Bring the hands back to the heart for Lotus Mudra.
May we allow love to fill us and guide our actions.