Feeling bitter, isolated, or in need of some general good vibes? Channel self-love and energy toward your relationships by tuning into your heart chakra with this heart-opening yoga flow. It was curated by CorePower Yoga chief yoga officer Heather Peterson and is demonstrated here by Christie Klach, a CorePower instructor in New York City. (Pssst: CorePower is known for their epic Yoga Sculpt class with weights.)
"These poses will strengthen your ability to love those around you," says Peterson. "Practicing the postures in this sequence will help you soften the muscles that cage your heart. Enjoy the softness and strength you've built in the practice and take what you created into your day." (Add this guided, heart-opening meditation at the end for an especially zen day.)
Besides all the internal feel-good benefits, this flow also opens your chest, shoulders, and hips (a godsend for anyone who sits at a desk all day). Ready to flow? Follow along with Klach above.
You'll need: A yoga mat or open space on carpet and two yoga blocks. (No blocks? Use a bolster or pillows instead.)
Stand in mountain pose. Inhale to extend arms overhead and exhale to hinge forward at the hips, coming into forward fold. Inhale to plant hands on the mat outside of feet and step back into high plank.
From plank, lower both elbows onto the mat, pressing palms of both hands down with fingertips pointing toward the front of the mat. Shift hips back and up to come into a downward dog on elbows. Micro-bend knees and spin inner thighs toward each other to broaden the low back. Draw front ribs in and extend tailbone up to lengthen spine. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.
One-Legged Frog Pose
Shift forward to low plank, lower legs and hips to the mat, and untuck feet to come into sphinx pose. Bend the right knee and reach the right hand back to grab inside of the right foot. Pull the heel down towards the right glute while keeping the right hip pressed into the ground for one-legged frog pose. (Optional: Kick into the right foot to pull the right side of the chest open for one-legged bow, as shown above). Hold for 3 to 5 breaths. Repeat on the left side.
Come to stand on both knees. Inhale and lengthen spine, then exhale to engage core by drawing front ribs down and front hip points up. Place palms on the low back with fingers pointing down. Lift chest up and roll the front of shoulders open, press shins into the mat, draw neck long, then tip head slightly back. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.
Start in a seated position and extend the right leg at about 45 degrees. Bend the left knee and fold the left foot into the right inner thigh. Rotate torso over the right leg and reach forward to shins, ankles, or feet, interlacing fingers around the ball of your extended foot (if possible). Round spine and lower forehead toward knee, bending the knee as much as necessary. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.
Revolved Head-to-Knee Pose
From head-to-knee pose, slowly roll up to sit tall. Then draw the right hand or forearm to the inside of the right leg, and rotate chest away from the extended leg. Reach the left arm overhead and grab for the outside of the right foot, ankle, or shin, or keep it in the air reaching forward. Lengthen the left side of body and draw the left sits bone down to root and lengthen spine. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths. Repeat head-to-knee and revolved head-to-knee on the left side.
Supported Reclined Bound Angle Pose
Slowly lie back onto the mat. Bend knees to bring the soles of both feet to touch, placing a block under each knee. Place hands on heart and stomach. Hold for 3 to 5 breaths.
Slowly sit up and remove blocks. Take a block and place it at the medium height in line with spine and a block at the tall height where your head will be. Lie back on the blocks and open both arms wide with palms up. (If you don't have blocks, you can use a bolster or pillow instead.) Taking deep breaths, lie in this pose for up to 5 minutes.