The Vinyasa Show Artwork
Season 9 - Episode 3

Heart Swell

30 min - Practice


Mary Beth draws our attention towards compassion and the heart center, guiding us in a slow, rhythmic flow to awaken the shoulders, chest, and spine in preparation for backbending and heart opening. You will feel receptive and peaceful.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block

About This Video


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Hi yogis, so good to see you. I've designed this short heart-opening flow as a way for you to really get into your groove and experience a sense of fluidity. I would also encourage you to invite in some compassion. So if you need to press pause and go into child's pose at any time during this practice, it's highly encouraged. So close your eyes, bow your head towards your heart.

And breathe in fully, send your breath all the way up underneath your collarbones, right into your heart space. And then sigh out your exhale. Twice more, a big breath in, make your belly round, send your breath up into your chest. Let your exhale go. And one more time, full inhale.

And sigh your breath out. As you bow your head, get clear on your sam culpa, your intention, your focus for your practice today. The space from which we move from. And then you open your eyes. Inhale to stretch your arms up.

As you exhale, cactus your arms. So just bend your elbows, draw your chest forward. Inhale to stretch up overhead. As you exhale, right fingertips down and stretch your left arm up and over your ear. You could gaze underneath.

Inhale, stretch up. Exhale to cactus. Inhale, stretch up. Exhale, tip to the left. Inhale, stretch up.

Exhale to cactus. Inhale, stretch up. Exhale to the right. Inhale, stretch up. Exhale to cactus.

Inhale to stretch. Exhale to the left. Inhale through center, big breath in. As you cactus, stick out your tongue. Inhale to reach up.

And twist to the right, just for three breaths. Sit tall as you inhale, gather length. Exhale to twist and revolve. And take a couple of breaths like this. As you inhale, send your breath all the way up to the crown of your head.

Exhale to twist, look past your right shoulder. A full breath in. A full breath out. Back through center, palms press overhead. Three breaths in the opposite direction.

Inhale together, length. Exhale to revolve. Two more times, inhale. And exhale. One more full breath in.

A full breath out. Spin back to center, hands to your knees. Switch the cross of your shins and just for a moment, draw the chest forward. Exhale to round. Four more cycles, seated cat cow, inhale to pull forward.

Exhale to round. Inhale. Exhale. And twice more. As you come upright, come around to all fours in table pose.

And we'll set up for a little flow here. So we'll slow it down the first time through, and then you can speed it up a bit and move at your own pace, or with me. So as you inhale, sink your belly, pull your chest forward into cow stretch. Round into cat. Inhale to pull forward.

With your exhale, down dog, just for your exhalation. Inhale forward to plank. Your exhale, drop knees, chest and chin. Hug your elbows in, drop your chin to the mat. Slide onto your belly.

Bhujangasana, cobra pose. Then back to a wide-kneed child's pose, and we take a moment here. A deep breath in. A deep breath out. And this first time we'll take two more cycles of breath.

With your inhale rise up, right away sink the belly into cow. Round into cat. Sink the belly, pull the chest forward. Round back, down dog. Inhale to plank.

Exhale, knees, chest, chin. Inhale to cobra pose. Exhale to child's pose, just a breath. Lift up, sink the belly. Round into cat.

Pull your chest forward, look up. Round back, down dog, move from your navel. Inhale, pull forward. Knees, chest, chin, keep your bum up. Slide onto your belly, cobra pose.

Back to child's pose. Rise to cow stretch. Round into cat. Back to cow, lift your drishti high. Down dog as you exhale.

Inhale to plank. Drop knees, chest, chin. Sweep through, cobra pose, coil up. Pull back as you exhale. One more time, inhale to rise up.

Sink the belly, look up. Round into cat. Inhale, chest lifts. Down dog. Inhale to plank.

Knees, chest, chin. Push off, rise to cobra pose, let's lift to a high cobra. And back to downward facing dog this time. Step to the top of your mat, feet together, lift to a flat back, breathe in. Fold with your exhalation.

Inhale to rise tall. Exhale right to your heart. Surya namaskar. Inhale to stretch up, exhale to fold forward. Inhale to lift your chest.

Step to plank. Lower halfway. Press through the balls of your feet, slide onto the tops, lift to up dog, pull back down dog. Breathe in, breathe out. Bend your knees.

Hop or step. Chest lifts. Fold forward. Rise tall. Hands to your heart.

Inhale to stretch high. Exhale to fold forward. Inhale to lift, flat back. Step to plank. Lower halfway.

Rise to up dog. Press back, down dog. A full breath in. A full breath out. Inhale to bend your knees.

Exhale to step or spring. Inhale to lift your heart. Exhale to fold. Inhale to rise. Exhale to your heart.

Once more. Inhale to stretch up. Exhale to fold forward. Inhale to lift. Either step back and lower or spring and land with bent elbows.

Inhale to up dog. Exhale to down dog. A full inhale. A full exhale. Bend your knees.

Step or spring. Chest lifts. Fold. Inhale to rise. Exhale to your heart.

Feet together, bend your knees, sit back into chair. Fold as you exhale. Lift your heart. Exhale, chaturanga. Inhale to up dog.

Exhale to down dog. Lift your right leg. Step to your right thumb. So ground your back heel into the Earth. Rise to warrior one.

And with your exhale, circle your hands behind you, interlace your fingers. Straighten your right leg as you breathe in, so your right hip hugs back. Send your knuckles down and lift your heart up. Then bend into your right knee and fold, humble warrior. Stay here for three deep breaths.

Your next inhale, rise up, palms press overhead, and hands down. Step to plank. Vinyasas are always optional. Chaturanga. Up dog.

Down dog. Left leg lifts. Step to your left thumb. Back heel spins flat. Rise up.

Circle behind you as you breath out. Straighten your left leg, lift your chest up, even lift your kneecap, firm your quad. Then bend into your left knee, and fold to the inside of your left leg. Full breath in. Full breath out.

Two more breaths. Inhale carries you up, palms press, and hands down, step to plank, lower, lift, pull back. A full breath in. Sigh out your exhale. Bend your knees, hop or step.

Chest lifts, fold forward. Bend your knees, sink your hips, stretch your arms up. And stand, hands to heart. So we'll flow on the breath here so we can pick up the pace. Bend your knees, drop your hips.

Exhale to fold. Chest lifts. Chaturanga. Urdhva mukha. Adho mukha.

Just step to your right thumb. Inhale. Exhale, circle behind. Inhale, straighten. Exhale, fold.

Inhale to rise up. Exhale to the Earth. Vinyasa nice and slow. Pull back to down dog. Step your left foot forward.

Circle behind. Inhale to straighten. Exhale to fold, bending the knee. Inhale to lift up, palms press overhead. And hands to the Earth.

Step to plank, lower. Inhale to lift the heart. Exhale to pull back. Big inhale. Big exhale.

One more time, bend your knees. Hop or step. Chest lifts, exhale to fold. Bend your knees, sit back into chair. And standing, hands to heart.

Bend your knees, chair pose. Exhale to fold. Inhale to lift. Exhale, chaturanga. Inhale to up dog.

Exhale to down dog. Step your right foot forward. Warrior one. Exhale behind. Inhale to straighten.

Exhale to fold. Inhale to lift, lift your drishti, lift your heart. And hands down. Step to plank, lower. Inhale to up dog.

Exhale to down dog. Step the left foot. Rise up. Circle behind. Straighten as you breath in.

Fold and bend the knee as you exhale. Inhale to stretch up. Exhale to the Earth. Step to plank. Lower, lift to up dog.

Child's pose as you exhale. Take your knees really wide, and then bring your palms to press together. Drop your forehead. Inviting compassion and ease. A sense of space to receive whatever's going on in you.

To witness that. You can even bend your elbows and bring your prayer to the back of your head or the nape of your neck. Stretch forward, palms to the Earth, and let's slide onto the belly, tops of the thighs for sphinx. Ground down through your inner hand, thumb and forefinger. Pull your chest forward as you press your pubic bone down and hug your belly in.

Either stay here or circle your head. Big, slow circles. And circle in the opposite direction. And back through center. Slide your hands back, come to all fours.

And downward facing dog. Lift your right leg up, bend your knee, open your hip. Either stay here or slowly flip over. Camatkarasana, lifting your hips, opening your heart. Plant your hand, come back around, and step to your right thumb.

Rise to crescent pose. Then cactus your arms as you exhale. Press your shoulder blades in towards your chest, hug your belly in. Lean back a little bit. Receive this back bend.

Stretch up as you inhale. Open to warrior two. Flip your right palms, straighten your right leg, reverse your triangle. And as you exhale, bend into your right knee, hand to the inside of your ankle, left arm up, and then over your ear. Gaze underneath your bicep.

Look to the Earth. I like the left hand on a hip, or you can keep it extended. Crawl your right fingertips over towards the upper right corner of the mat, and lift your left leg. Flex through your foot, reach your left arm up, and take up space. So the opposite of playing small.

Take up space, breathe into the sides of your waist, your belly, your chest. And then option to bend your knee, catch the top of your foot or your ankle, and come into chapasana. Press your shin back. Enjoy the stretch. Good, release.

Step to warrior two. And hands down. I'm going to skip my vinyasa, but you are more than welcome to move through one, or practice compassion, and just step right back. Then lift your left leg up, open up your hip, option to flip over nice and slow. Camatkarasana, reach your left arm up and over.

Come back around and step towards your left thumb. Rise up to crescent pose. Make sure you're not on a tightrope. Then cactus your arms. So press your wrists back, hug your belly in and lift your back bend up into your heart.

Stretch up. Open to warrior two. Drop down into your left thigh. Soft gaze. Flip your left palm, straighten your leg, tip it up and back.

And then bend into your knee, hand to the inside of your ankle. Right arm up, and then over. Hand to your hip, or straight up. Left fingertips towards the upper left corner of the mat. Lift your right leg, flex your foot, reach your right arm up.

Get expansive. Expand out in every direction possible. And an option to bend your lifted leg, chapasana, and press your shin back. And release. Step to warrior two.

And the hands down. Vinyasa, or straight back. Drop to your knees. Keep your hips right over your knees, and then crawl your hands forward. Drop your chest down.

If you can, lift your palms. Maybe rest your chin on the mat or your forehead down. Then walk your hands back. Come into child's pose with your hands back by your heels. From balasana you'll rise up onto your shins.

Have your knees hip distance. And then roll your toes under. Hands to your heart in prayer, moving into ustrasana, camel pose. Hug your navel towards your spine, direct your tailbone towards the backs of the knees, and then lift up from your sternum. Roll your shoulder heads back, and as you engage from your belly, lift lift lift, and if you feel as though you're continuing to create space, not limit it, you could circle your hands back towards your heels and lift from your sternum.

I like to keep the head lifted to protect my neck, but if you're all good in the neck, you could consider dropping your head back. Then you lift up, hands to your heart, sit back on your heels. You're more than welcome to pause and move through that a couple more times, perhaps coming onto the tops of the feet rather than toes rolled under. But if you're with me, you'll circle your legs forward for paschimottanasana. Root through your sit bones.

And then you'll slide your hands down your legs and catch where you can. That might be the calves, or catching the outer edges of your feet, and dropping your head down. Pull the chest forward. Soften in. Press your thigh bones down and flex your feet.

And draw your exhalations out a count or two longer than your inhale. And as you lift on up, you'll grab a block if you have one. If you don't, you can always use a bath towel, and you're going to fold it up so you create kind of a burrito shape. I'm going to turn around so you can see me better here. And you'll take your block, either flat or on its side, and place it right across the base of your shoulder blades.

Same thing for the towel. Then as you recline back, you'll bring your head towards the Earth, and soles of your feet together, knees open. Arms by your sides. And settle into this shape. Let your body drape over your block or your blanket so there's a sense of surrender.

And from this sense of surrender we can actually access compassion. And as we notice what's going on with us, we have an opportunity to invite that compassion in. So use compassion as a way to soften any hard edges of thoughts or emotions, any judgements as they come up, so that your practice becomes a safe landing place, rather than a space we come to to critique ourselves or judge ourselves. Instead, it's a place for us to enjoy ourselves as is. So if it's comfortable for you, you could stay here for a minute or so longer.

Or, you'll come onto your elbows and slowly peel yourself up off of your block or your blanket. And then make your way back down. Hug your right knee into your chest, give it a good squeeze. And then guide your knee across you, and look out over your right shoulder. Maybe bring a little smile to your lips.

And back through center. And switch, left knee hugs in, right leg extends. Guide across you, look out over your left shoulder. Back through center, knees into your chest. Happy baby, catch the outer edges of your feet, little rocks side to side, just relaxing through the back, feeling your whole spine on the Earth.

And hug your knees back into your chest. And you'll rock up to seated. Find a cross-legged seat. You're always welcome to press pause and take a few minutes in shavasana instead. But let's actually fold our hands in our laps.

So you could interlace your fingers, roll your shoulder heads back and sit tall. And then find a slight bowing towards the chest. Press your palms together at your heart, and bow your head, truly honoring your body, breath and practice. Letting your practice be a soft place for you to land. A deep breath in, a big sigh out.

May there be peace in your hearts, in your homes, and in our world. Namaste.


Senada S
2 people like this.
Thank you, that was a beautiful practice. Very easy to follow but plenty to do 😃
May Beth LaRue
so glad you enjoyed it. thanks senada!
Jenny Lynn Newell
Really missed your class at home tonight. So this beautiful flow was needed!! xo!
May Beth LaRue
thanks for practicing with me from snowy denver instead! xo
Brenda K
1 person likes this.
Beautiful class, offering just the perfect amount of effort and surrender for a tired mama! Thank you, I loved it and feel so much better!
May Beth LaRue
thanks brenda! miss you!
Brandi W
1 person likes this.
So wonderful as always! I hope we get more of you on YogaAnytime soon!
Neil R
Looking great in those pants too !
Sandra Židan
Great practice, Mary Beth! I feel  more open in my chest now and I can breath better! Thanks! Kind regards! 💖💝🌺🌹
David G-
1 person likes this.
The cues and tempo got me into such a momentum-filled flow. Thanks 

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