Unity Flow - Open your Heart

Unity Flow - Open your Heart

June 15, 2020

By: Autumn Mulgrew | @afterrsummer

 

 

In this ever changing world of turmoil that has become our reality these past few months, it is so important, now more than ever, to open your mind and your heart. Open your mind to new ideas, thoughts, innovations, and changes that are happening right before our eyes. Open your heart to anyone and everyone, to working together as one human race, to unity. Use your voice to support, to inform, to demand. Listen, learn, reflect, and grow. We will come out of this better and stronger than ever, we have to.

While we practice opening our hearts figuratively, it helps to practice literally as well. We can’t help others if we don’t first help ourselves. This flow focuses on stretching and opening up the muscles in the chest and strengthening the muscles in the back.

 

Warming up

Side Stretches

Start in a cross-legged position. If it is in your practice, you can do a half or full lotus.

Set your right arm down by your right side and reach your left arm up and over to the right for a side stretch.

Hold for at least 3 breaths.

Repeat on the left side and go through as many cycles as you like.

Cat Cow

Move into tabletop position, ensuring your shoulders are directly above your wrists.

Drop your belly and look up for cow pose, then arch your back upwards and look down for cat pose.

Move through cat and cow with your breath, focusing on warming up the spine.

 

Heart Opening Flow

Baby Cobra

Starting in tabletop, push back into downward dog, peddling out the feet and moving in any way that feels good.

Roll forward into a high plank position, option to lower to the knees.

Keeping your elbows tight to your sides, lower all the way down to the ground.

Using your back muscles rather than pushing up with your hands, lift your upper body only as far as you are comfortable.

Hold for 2 breaths, then release back down to the ground.

Repeat 3 times, trying to lift yourself higher each time.

Push back into downward dog.

Cobra

Starting in downward dog, roll forward into a high plank position, option to lower to the knees.

Keeping your elbows tight to your sides, lower all the way down to the ground.

This time, use your arms to push your upper body up only as far as you are comfortable.

Hold for 2 breaths, then release back down to the ground.

Repeat 3 times, trying to lift yourself higher each time and straightening your arms for full cobra pose if it is in your practice.

Push back into downward dog.

Bow

Starting in downward dog, roll forward into high plank position, option to lower to the knees.

Keeping your elbows tight to your sides, lower all the way down to the ground.

Bring your forearms to the mat and lift your upper body for sphinx pose.

Now you will grab your right foot with your right hand and your left foot with your left hand for bow pose, but there are 4 different grip options depending on your level of flexibility:

          1. Grip the outsides of your feet if you are less flexible.
          2. Grip the insides of your feet if you are more flexible.
          3. Grip your ankles if you practice this pose often and need more of a challenge.
          4. Flip your grip for the most advanced version of bow pose (not shown in the video since I am still working toward this!)

Whichever grip you chose to do, kick your feet into your hands and shine your chest forward.

Focus on your breath and don’t let your knees go wider than your hips.

Hold for 3-5 breaths, release on an exhale and push back into child’s pose.

Bridge

Starting in child’s pose, push up into tabletop, cross your legs and sit back into a seated position.

Roll down one vertebrate at a time until you are flat on your back, knees bent and feet on the ground.

Bring your arms by your sides and move your feet closer to your hands until your fingertips can almost graze your ankles.

Keep your feet hip distance apart and push your belly up for bridge pose.

To open your chest further, roll your shoulders under your back and clasp your hands together.

Focus on pushing your abdomen up, only as far as you are comfortable.

Release on an exhale and bring your knees into your chest to neutralize the spine.

Wheel

Release the grip on your knees and place your feet on the ground hip distance apart.

Place your hands on the ground next to your ears with your fingertips pointing toward your heels.

On an exhale, push up into wheel pose and focus on pressing your chest forward.

To get into a deeper wheel, you can try to lift up onto your toes or walk your hands and feet closer to one another.

Slowly release on an exhale and bring your knees into your chest to neutralize the spine.

 

Cool Down Stretches

Starting on your back, move your knees from side to side in a windshield wiper motion to loosen up the back muscles.

Bring your knees into your chest and rock back and forth and in circular movements for a lower back massage.

Grab your big toes with your pointer fingers and lift your legs up for happy baby and continue to rock back and forth if it feels good.

Release your feet to the ground, move in any other ways that your body needs, and then finish your practice with a savasana if you have time to do so. 

 

 

 

 

Autumn is a contributing author for Tada Rugs. Tada Rugs is a 5x7 yoga mat disguised as an artistic area rug that you never have to put away. Tada is short for tadasana, or mountain pose, and our own backyard in the San Juan Mountains of Durango, Colorado is where we find our inspiration. Check out our new designs, enter for a chance to win a new Tada Rug, and be sure to follow us for deals and insider specials! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, or contact us through our website! Tie a room together and bring your practice home.



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