This sequence celebrates the Anahata, or heart chakra. Focusing on physically expanding the chest, opening the throat and enhancing posture, heart openers invite us to expose the often-guarded heart centre in order to both offer and receive love.
Begin on hands and knees, with shoulders over wrists and hips over knees. Inhale, drop the belly, and lift tailbone, chest and gaze. Exhale, round the back, draw chin to chest, navel to spine, and tuck tailbone. Repeat for 5 rounds before ending in a neutral spine.
Lie on your abdomen and rest on your forehead, arms down by your sides with palms facing up and heels together. Inhale, lift your head, chest, arms, and legs, resting on the abdomen. Lengthen legs up and back, reaching back actively through fingertips and draw shoulder blades together. Lengthen the back of the neck and gaze forward and up. Hold for 5 breaths and repeat 3-5 times. Press to hands and knees.
From hands and knees, step left foot forward between your hands, keeping the knee aligned directly above the ankle. (The knee can extend forward of the ankle if you have healthy, pain-free knees.) Slide the right knee back to find a gentle stretch in the groin and front of the right hip. Draw hands to rest on the left thigh. Once you feel steady, sweep arms overhead, press palms and gaze up. Thumbs may rest on the third eye. Hold for 5 breaths and repeat on the opposite side.
From lunge, come to stand on knees placed hip width apart. Place hands on the sacrum. Begin to gently arch the spine, sending the chest forward and up. Hands can remain at sacrum or reach to the heels, with or without tucking the toes. Maintain an even breath for a count of 5. Slowly come upright and sit to heels to release.
Seated Spinal Twist
Begin seated with both legs extended in front of you. Bending the right knee, step the right foot over to the outside of the left knee. Bending the left knee, draw the left foot toward right sitting bone and place the right hand behind you for support. Inhale, extend the left arm up as you lift your chest; exhale to twist right and draw left elbow outside of right thigh. Hold for 5 breaths. Slowly release the pose, change sides, repeat.