Sunday, 2 October 2016

Connecting to the Breath: A Heart Opening Sequence

One way we can bring mindfulness to our yoga practice (as opposed to it being just an exercise class) is by connecting to the breath.   We can do this simply by being still and drawing our attention to our inhalation and exhalation, in through the nose, and out through the nose. I always start my classes and my own practice this way.  Then I like to bring in some gentle movements which align with the breath to both further this connection and to begin to awaken the body.

I have called this sequence a heart opening sequence.  I encourage you, on each inhalation, to imagine your chest and heart expanding, and on each exhalation to imagine feeling grounded and centered.  Inhale and open the heart, exhale and come back to center.  Inhale, expand, exhale, return to earth.

In the pictures I am sitting in Half Lotus because it's the most comfortable seated position for me.  You can do this sequence from Easy Pose, or any seated position that you find comfortable.

We begin with our hands at heart center.

Inhale and take the hands overhead.

Exhale and bring the arms to the sides, touching your fingertips to the earth.

Inhale and bring the hands back overhead.

Exhale and return the hands to heart center.

Inhale and open the arms out to the side, expanding the chest.

Exhale and reach over to one side.  Stay here for a few breaths in a comfortable stretch, lengthening and opening through the side torso.

On an exhale, return to center bringing your fingertips back to the earth.

Inhale and take the hands back over head.

Exhale and return the hands to heart center.

Repeat this sequence taking the stretch on the other side then refold your legs and do it all again!

You can see a video of the sequence here.

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