Yoga is all about opening your heart to love and being thankful for the love you have and receive from so many in your life.
Here are my favorite 8 poses to celebrate YOU and open your heart!
Twisting Extended Side Angle
This pose is great for opening the chest and shoulders. It strengthens your hamstrings, groin and legs. Begin this pose in warrior, take your left arm and wrap it around your back- giving your shoulder a great stretch. Take your right arm and bend it, putting your elbow on your thigh and stretching your left side. Hold pose for as long as comfortable and switch sides to give the opposite side of your body a good stretch.
Upward Facing Dog
This pose will help to lengthen and strengthen your arms, core and spine. Begin by laying flat on your stomach with your legs extended straight behind you and a few inches apart. Inhale deeply and place your hands on the floor with your fingers pointed towards your head and your fingertips alongside your chest. Push up and fully extend your arms, gently lifting your upper body off the the floor. Make sure to not have your hands too far out in front of you- this will create strain for your lower back. Inhale and exhale deeply, hold pose for as long as comfortable.
Wide Tip Over Tuck
You'll mostly feel this move in your chest and shoulders, but your lower back and hamstrings will also get a good stretch. Begin with your torso straight up and your legs wide apart- about a foot and a half or so. Bring your arms up straight over your head and intertwine them together. Then slowly bring your entire torso down, until it's horizontal with the floor. Let your arms hang above your head, remaining clasped. This should put a bit of pressure of your shoulders, but don't strain to get your arms as far down as you can. Let the weight of your clasped arms lengthen your lower back and let your torso naturally lower as the body becomes more flexible and comfortable in this stretch.
Seated Heart Opener
Begin in child's pose. Rise and straighten your spine, reclining your arms straight out behind you. Spread your fingertips wide and have them pointed away from your body. Arch your back, bringing your neck back to give your spine a fuller stretch. This action stretches and releases the muscles of the chest, allowing circulation to flow freely to the heart and lungs.
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
This pose gently stretches your chest, groin and inner thigh muscles and allow for more deeper breathing. Begin by laying on your back and bringing your knees up. Turn both feet towards each other bring the soles of your feet together, keeping them connected. This will gently push your knees out on either side- its okay if they don't touch the ground, just let them hang gently without straining and your weight will naturally lower and stretch them. Spread your arms out on either side of your body with your fingers spread out. Breath in and out deeply and enjoy this relaxing pose!
Cow Face Pose
This pose will deeply stretch your legs, hips, lengthen your arms and shoulders and give them a great pull and open your chest for some great deep breathing. Begin by sitting straight up and bending your knees, bringing your left foot underneath of your right knee and slide it to the outside of your right hip. Do the same on the opposite side with your right foot and left hip. Clasp the left and the right arms together, interlacing your fingers together (or use a strap to hold onto if your fingers don't reach) and breath in and out deeply. Hold pose for as long as comfortable, and repeat for the opposite side.
Begin by standing straight up with both feet on the mat. Breath in and lift your right leg back catching it with your right leg and holding in close to the back of your leg for a deep stretch. Keep your spine straight and your head faced forward and stretch your left arm out and hold it straight. Hold pose for as long as comfortable, doing the left leg next.
Last but not least, get comfortable on your mat and lay down for Savasana. When you come out of Savasana, sit up on your mat with legs crossed and make a heart as you finish breathing in deep (a fun pose to end the sequence with children!)
So what are your favorite poses that make you feel the best about yourself...
|Sky Andersen holds down the role of blog writer at Yoga Direct. Currently studying Public Relations at Virginia Commonwealth University, she writes for may different publications and is passionate about all things photography, travel and of course- yoga.|