30 Day Yoga Challenge Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 22

Day 20: Open-Hearted Superhero

20 min - Practice


Feel your spirit generous, and your front body expansive with today's yoga sequence chock-full of heart-opening backbends.
What You'll Need: Mat


Read Full Transcript

(gentle waves) Hey welcome back to YogaAnytime. 30 day showing up. Day number 20, practice number 20. We're gonna meet some new friends today. We're gonna meet friends that encourage backbend, heart-opening, OK.

leading toward Wheel Pose. We'll give it a shot, we'll see how it goes. So let's begin. Close your eyes. Palms at your chest, at your heart.

Take a breath in. (breathes in) and exhale. (breathes out) All right, here we go. So front of the mat. Stand in mountain pose.

Take a few moments. Roll the shoulders back. Get some good stability in your feet and your legs. Basically what you do physically right now the language is, "I'm here. "I'm fully here ready to rock and roll." All right.

Let's take a breath in and reach up. Maybe even tuck the tailbone a little bit and lean back. Exhale forward bend. Inhale lift up halfway. (breaths in) Now exhale step back into Plank Pose.

Pause. On your exhale, use your knees if you'd like to lower all the way down. Move through Cobra on the inhalation and move to Child's Pose on the exhalation. From Child's Pose come right on up onto the knees. Reach the arms back behind you.

Get that gentle kind of moderate Camel Pose position going and pull the shoulders back, chest back, hips forward big breath in here. Exhale. Go ahead and come down into a Child's Pose just for a moment. Good. Table Top Downward Dog.

Lift the right leg high. Breathe in and now step the right foot all the way up as you breathe out. Set the back knee down. We're looking for a long stretch up the left thigh here. Up through the hip flexors.

All the way up through the trunk of the body. Reach up, maybe take the hands behind your head. Pull the elbows back. Bring the chest, up, up and away. (breathes in) Good.

Reach up. Breathe in. Breathe out. Hands come down. Step back into Plank Pose.

Exhale lower down. (breathes out) Cobra Pose breathe in. Breathe out. Child's Pose. (breathes out) Good and come up all the way up onto the shins.

Curl the toes, reach the arms back. Get the hold in your waist, your seat. Push your hips forward. Chest up. Head back. Good.

Come back to neutral. Untuck the toes. Take a Child's Pose. A little gentle Child's Pose to counterpose it. Good. Table Top, breathe in.

Downward Dog, breathe out. Lift your left leg high, breathe in. Step it all the way up as you breathe out. Bring the back knee down. Untuck the back toes.

Rise up. So from the right thigh all the way up. Length, length, length. Length up through the trunk of your body up and then bring it on up and back. (breathes out) Good. Reach up, breathe in.

Breathe out. Hands come down, step the right foot up to meet your left. Forward bend, exhale. Inhale, lift halfway. (breathes in) Exhale, fold.

(breathes out) Tuck the tailbone, bend the knees a lot and roll up, lazy arms, lazy head. Circle the arms up. Big inhalation and exhale the palms to the chest. (breathes out) Inhale, circle the arms up. Exhale, dive down.

Forward bend. Inhale, lift up halfway. Now exhale step back into Plank Pose. Exhale everything out. Breathe in and exhale lower strong all the way down.

Point the toes back long and strong in the legs. Take your hands out directly out from your shoulders. Maybe even tent up on your fingertips or stay on your palms, turning your fingers out. Give this a shot. See what it feels like to kind of push through the hands.

Lift your chest and when you lift the chest let the head hang and once you kind of max out with the back then let the head lift. That's the full inhalation. The exhalation, arms bend, roll down. Three more. Push through the hands, lift the chest.

Head tips back just a little bit. Exhale, roll it out. Two more. Inhale. Exhale.

Last one breathe in. (breathes in) Breathe out. (breathes out) Good. Now take the arms forward. All the way out like Superman.

You can use to keep your chest down. Reach out, breathe in and as you exhale simply draw the elbows as far back as you can like reaching right elbow to right heel left elbow to left heel. Maybe look forward a little bit. Lift the chest as it feels right for you. So breathe in lower the chest.

Breathe out, lift the chest, pull the elbows back. Locust Rose right? Let's go three more. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Still cultivating that upper body back-bendy thing going. Inhale lower. Exhale. (breathes out) One more time. Breathe in.

Stretch it out. Breathe out. Lift and pull the elbows back. Stay lifted. Reach back behind you if you've got that hold. Interlace your fingers and pull your shoulders back.

Get strong in the feet so press your feet down into the mat. Knee caps might rise a little bit. Getting a tiny little cramp in my left foot so if that happens to you it's totally normal. Stretch out the toes a little bit. Try this.

If your hands are back roll over to the left a little bit so it actually will kind of stretch through the right and left side. Good. Try the other side. (breathes in and out) We'll call this pose, my favorite pose. My favorite pose right now. Good. Come back over to center.

Lift, get strong in your back. Inhale. And now exhale. Lower it down. Good.

Bend your right leg and bend your left. Take hold of the right. Reach your right arm out. Take hold of the right foot and then take hold of the left foot. And what I want you to do is push your feet into the hands which will then lift your shoulders up a little bit.

Just gentle little bow here I'm not gonna go crazy. (breathes out) Use the leg strength, push your feet into the hands and that'll kind of like lengthen the arms into the shoulders, into the chest and release. (breathes out) Let the head come down. Head rest either on your hands or the mat. Bend your legs and windshield wiper your knees or your legs from side to side.

Couple of deep breaths. (breathes in and out) OK bring it back to center. OK good slide the hands back by the ribs. Little farther than you might even realize. Now we haven't necessarily done Upward Dog yet so I'm going to cue you into it the best way I can.

So strong feet down to the mat. To the point where your knee caps might even lift. Now press your hips down into the mat for now. Pull the elbows into your ribs Now elbows to your heels. You don't need to lift your head here OK.

Keep the head in line with your spine. Now work a little arm strength and work toward pushing like you would a push up almost right? And now you straighten your arms. Now from here my knees just lifted. You may have to adjust.

So if your hands were further forward it's gonna be hard and you know try to stay away from the shoulders up near the ears. So here, hands back, strong legs. Strong arms, strong upper body. Now pull the shoulders back and your chest forward. (breathes in and out) Good let's do one more.

So what I want you to do is like lower down the way you came in. (breathing) Now inhale, push into the hands reach the crown of your head forward. Strong legs and up. Good job. Knees down and push back into Child's Pose. Only for one breath now to continue right we're gonna come on up.

We're gonna get into that Camel Pose again right. So curl the toes. (breathes out) Arms out. Reach back. Get that hold right.

You've done this a few times. So you know where your hold is. I'm gonna go right into it cause I'm feeling pretty open here so I'm gonna reach to the right arm back to the right heel, left arm back to the left heel. Tuck the tailbone. Push the hips and thighs forward and my shoulders so far back.

I can keep my head like so or let my head drift back and catch a little sun. Breathe. OK good, chin to the chest. Duh-da-dhat. Come down.

Child's Pose. Stretch the arms all the way out toward the front of the mat. Come up into Table Top. Cat Cow. Belly down this will kind of help bring the spine back to a neutral position I think.

So belly down, shoulders back and round into Cat Pose. Exhale. Inhale. Cow Facing Pose. Extension and length, a little back-bendy.

Exhale round, countering that. Good, one more time. Breathe in. Breathe out. (breathes out) Breathe in, back to a neutral Table Top and then let's come on down to our seat so just go ahead and boom, good job.

OK take your right hand back, left arm back. Point your fingers back. Feet are going to be right below your knees as you pull your shoulders back and lift up for Reverse Table. (breathes in and out) Slowly lower down. Good.

Roll down to your back. Bring your arms alongside your body. Feet below your knees. We've done Bridge Pose before. We're gonna come up into a bridge.

Open up a little bit and then we'll explore Wheel. That's good. Feet grounded. Lift. Walk your shoulder blades toward one another. Hands resting on your rib cage, your side body.

You could even work your hands underneath you. We haven't done this one yet but might be pretty warm. Interlace your fingers. If you're even more bendy you can hold onto your ankles. You could support.

Take your left hand underneath your lower back. Your right hand underneath your lower back. (breathes in and out) Ah so good. OK. Release. Slide.

I'm a little sweaty so I can just like slide my shoulder blades out and lower all the way down. OK so you have the choice between coming back up into Bridge. If you know right away Wheel's not your thing totally cool. If you're interested and you're feeling open let's check it out right? I'm not a Bridge master or a Wheel master but I'm gonna try Wheel today and see how it feels.

So basically what you wanna do is take your left hand bring it back by the shoulder. Right hand back by the shoulder. Fingers pointing toward your heels. Now your feet. Feet are grounded hip width.

Push up onto your head gently. Little rest there. Don't even put too much weight on the head. Get adjusted. Make sure your feet grounded, hands grounded.

Now breathe in and then as you exhale engage your core and rise up. Good. Adjust your feet. Maybe walk them a little bit closer. Pull the elbows in toward one another and push your chest back. Let your head hang.

(breathes in and out) The best part about this pose is when you come out. It just feels so so good. Lift the heels, set the head down gently. Roll down. Ah (breathes out).

Windshield wiper just once or twice. Good job. Whichever one you did. Good choice. OK.

So let's get into the core my friends. So lift the chest. Start off by just lifting the chest and now bend the knees. Extend your right leg out. We're actually just going to leave those arms straight out or a little diagonal.

Right leg can be a little bit at an angle as well. Now lift the chest and just simply pedal it out. We'll do 10 on each side starting now. One. One.

Two. Two. Three. You can put your hands by your head. Three. Four.

Four. Five. Five. Six. Six.

Good. Lift your chest. Seven. Seven. Eight. Eight. Nine. Almost there.

Nine. 10 10 Ah (breathing out) 20 minutes never felt so good. All right. Lengthen the neck. Let your arms relax. Bring the bottom of your feet together.

Let your hips open. Allowing your entire body to relax. Full permission from me. Give full permission to yourself to relax. Whatever you need to do, it'll be there.

(breathes out) Now take another 40 seconds. You can kind of make it somewhat of a subtle movement relaxation. You know the head from side to side. Just gently moving your fingers. Maybe you've straightened your legs out.

You're getting long and... (breathes out) Roll over to your side. Take three, four breaths here let your head rest on your arm. Bend your knees. Cozy pose.

(breathes in and out) Good. Push up to sit and join me if you'd like. (breathes out) Sit up tall. Close your eyes and press your palms to your chest. Bow. Namaste.

Basically I bow to you. I bow to myself. So bow to yourself and acknowledge your efforts. Dedication and commitment. (breathes out) Good. Namaste.


Jess D
2 people like this.
This is a great way to prepare for and approach Wheel. My low back felt safe and well protected the whole time.
Astrid U
2 people like this.
Because of arthritis in my back I haven't done much with back bends so these two last days I've been cautious with them but I have to say that the way you guide us has gotten me much further than I anticipated and it feels sooo good to stretch in that way again!!
Robert Sidoti
Jess and Astrid ... YES YES YES!! Safe back bending is the best:) To be able to experience those potentially very liberating and freeing heart openers and backbends without the low back risk of injury is so nice, I personally love the feeling of them as well and stay away from unnecessary pain in low back, no need for that! Day 20 done, boom!! Good job to you all!
Maria Elena D
my body feels open and expanded, moving with ease throughout my day, :) such a great feeling! thank you Robert, good day all.
Robert Sidoti
Good to hear Maria, and a day day back to you my friend!!
Erika H
3 people like this.
I absolutely loved rolling from side to side in locust!
Robert Sidoti
Isn't the best Erika?!! I love that one as well!
2 people like this.
Great practice Robert - looking forward to Day 21
Sylvia H
1 person likes this.
I am feeling stronger and stronger, thank you Robert! My arms went numb after interlacing them behind my back (so I stopped that) but it all felt great on my low back. Also I've not been able to get into wheel for 20 years until today!! Little shakey coming out of it though....Looking forward to day 21 and beyond!
Robert Sidoti
Awesome Sylvia, so good to hear you are feeling stronger and that wheel felt like a success to you!! That numb feeling is totally normal and you did the right thing:) I'll see if I can catch up with you toward the end of the challenge, see how you're doing!
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