45-Minute Yoga Flows Artwork
Season 3 - Episode 4

Strong Core, Open Heart

45 min - Practice


Develop a strong core to support an open heart. In this practice, we move through a core-focused flow to build strength before moving into expansive heart opening postures. You will feel open and free.
What You'll Need: Mat, Block

About This Video


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Hi guys, welcome back to your mats. Today we have an opening practice in our flow, but first we'll begin with some core work because in yoga, just like in life, you need a strong core to support an open heart. Come to your backs and if you have a block with you, that's ideal. Block comes in between the thighs. If no block, that's fine, just play with the phantom block, squeezing your legs to the midline.

Starting simple, take a deep breath in and on the exhale, press your low back down into the ground, imprinting it to the earth. The low belly will hollow and you'll see that the pelvis tilts as well. Inhale, relax. Exhale, squeeze block. If you have it, low back down, pelvis tilts, low belly in, inhale, relax, exhale, squeeze and press, inhale, relax, exhale, squeeze and press.

Find that low belly, scoop it up and in, inhale, relax and this time, lace your hands behind your head easily, elbows out left and right, hands will play the part of a shelf. Take a breath in, exhale, press low back down, squeeze block. If you have it, lift head, shoulders up and ideally the shoulder blades, then inhale, come on down, exhale, press low back, lift up, inhale down, exhale, low back down, lift up, inhale down, once more, press, lift up, inhale, take it down. Lose the block for now but have it nearby if you know you want to use it later for balanced poses. Lace your hands behind your right thigh and stretch your left leg down on earth.

Now straighten your right leg, lengthen that hamstring, exhale, bend, inhale, lengthen, exhale, bend, inhale, lengthen, this time, walk your hands up your legs, ground your low back and scoop in your low belly, bring your arms towards your left toes, even lift your left toes up, grounding low back and switch the legs. Switch and switch, switch and switch. And with your right leg close to your nose, relax the head and shoulders and hug that knee in. You'll take it across for a spinal twist, reaching your right arm open and then open up even more, taking some big circles of the right arm. Feel that opening across your chest, once more, big inhale, and then settle back onto your back.

Lace your hands behind your left thigh and bring your right leg down onto your mat. Inhale, lengthen through the left leg and exhale, bend. Inhale, lengthen, exhale, bend, inhale, lengthen, and bend, inhale, lengthen, this time, walk your hands up that straight leg and reach your fingertips towards your right toes, even lift your right toes, ground that low back and switch. Switch and switch, switch and switch, low back down, ending with the left leg close to your nose, relax, hugging that left knee, scoot your hips to the left, drop your knee over to the side, big gestures of the top arm. Breathe in, it's going to really help you open up across that chest, breathe out, inhale, exhale once more and let that take you onto your back.

Hugging your knees in or maybe hands behind the thighs will give you a little bit more control as you rock and roll, now I like to angle a little bit to one side or the other where the muscles are, getting a nice, cheap massage out of the business and then maybe after a few more rolls, coming on up and finding your hands and knees. Hands and knees, spin your fingertips around or if that's not available, the fingertips can come to the side and just take a few cat-cows, extra little warm up for the wrists, preparing them to bear a little weight today. Reaching your hands forward now, tucking your toes and passing through your downward facing dog. You can walk out that down dog, then bend the knees, look between the thumbs or forward and walk your feet all the way in between your hands. So taking the feet hips distance apart for this opening flow, a salute to the moon, you can measure it out with your fists and then forward fold.

Inhale flat back, look forward, open up across your chest, exhale ragdoll forward fold, inhale rise, reach your arms overhead and then place your hands to your sacrum this first time. Just a little bend in the knees, take a moment to send your tailbone down just to find that hugging up and in of your abs and then lengthen the legs, open the heart and gaze up. Exhale forward fold, sliding the hands down the back of the legs, you might encourage yourself a little deeper into the forward fold. Inhale flat back, releasing hands to the earth and step your left foot back, tap your back knee down and inhale bring your arms up into the Andhanaasana. Once again the low belly is in and from that support we inhale and lift the chest.

Breathing in, exhale downward facing dog, stepping the right foot back, tuck your chin and inhale articulate forward to a plank pose, ashtanga panam lower knees, chest right between the thumbs, chin is down too. Now you could tuck the tailbone and take a wave into cobra pose just for kicks and then we're back to downward facing dog. Inhale, swing that same left leg up, exhale left foot forward and the back knee down. Inhale bring the arms up into our low lunge, you might back it up a little bit just to draw the little belly in. On an inhale lift that chest, maybe see this guy, back toes tucked guys, we'll step forward and swing the hands behind the low back, lacing the fingers right away, juicing up those shoulders a little bit, breathing in and breathe out, lower your hands to the ground.

Soft bend in the knees, rise up, hook your thumbs, low belly in as you look up and then bend the knees deeply and swing your hands behind your low back again. I like to switch the gripping of the fingers, try to bring the right thumb on top or the left alternatively. Drop your hands to the earth and step the right foot back, back knee down. One breath this time, arms come up, heart comes up, exhale downward facing dog, tuck the chin and take the wave forward to plank pose, exhale bow, knees, chest and chin, tuck the tailbone, find the wave to the cobra, exhale tuck the toes downward facing dog. Inhale the right leg comes up, exhale right foot forward and the back knee down, inhale lift the arms, lift the hearts, cast off the back foot and see if you can lace those fingers together right away.

Take a breath in, surrender the hands, breath out. Bend the knees, hook the thumbs, belly in as you come up, maybe over. Bend the knees, swing the arms, lacing the hands together again. Breathing in, exhale hands to the mat and the left foot steps. Knee stays up, high lunge, exhale down dog split, lifting the right leg up into the air.

Bend the knee, open up the hip and you have some free styling here. I like to circle the ankle or you can also circle the leg in the hip or bend and straighten that leg, finding some freedom across the front of your right hip. Deep breaths in, as always, keep breaths out, inhale straighten that right leg and square your hips, roll forward to plank posture, maybe three legged chaturanga, inhale upward facing dog, exhale downward facing dog. Same left leg swings up, exhale left foot forward, keep that back knee up as we come to high lunge, standing forward fold, swinging the hands behind you, feet hips distance apart. Breathe in, lower the hands, breath out.

Bend the knees, hook the thumbs, belly in as you lift up, maybe over, soften those knees and swing the arms behind you. Breathing in, hands to the mat, breath out. Step the right foot back and draw that little belly in. Inhale high lunge, exhale down dog split. Left leg comes up, bending the left knee and opening up the hip.

Finding what's going to open you up today. Maybe you're a fan of circular movements or maybe you bend and straighten. Everybody breathing in, everybody breathes out. Let's straighten left leg, square those hips, roll forward three legged plank. Standing forward, three legged chaturanga dandas.

Inhale upward facing, exhale back to the downward facing dog. Right away right foot lifts, exhale right foot forward. Inhale high lunge, standing forward fold, feet hips distance apart, lacing the hands behind the back. Breathing in, breathing out. Breathing in, breathing out.

Drop the hands once more. Bend the knees, swing the arms, hook the thumbs, open up, exhale, settle into your mountain pose. Draw your toes together. Toes will be together for this flow and we'll bring our hands to prayer. Chair pose, sit low and swing your arms up.

Stay and wrap in the muscles around your sit bones. Take a breath in, breath out, find a flat back right there in your chair so you're sliding your shoulder blades onto your back guys and looking a little forward, keeping that gesture of opening even as we get a little deeper into our leg and core strength. Take a breath in, left foot and knee come up for flamingo pose. Check it out if you're unsure. I'm in deep flexion in my left hip and knee and I'm drawing the leg in by virtue of my core strength.

Next inhale, shoot it back slowly to the high lunge. Take a breath in and a breath out. First time we hold, finding the shapes in the body, letting the hips be heavy and looking for that subtle lengthening in your lunge, lifting and inflating the ribs away from the hips. Next inhale, lengthen your front leg warrior two. The more you drop the tailbone, the more you have that opportunity of drawing the low belly in.

Breathing in, breathing out. Breathing in, you might squeegee that right foot forward a little more, getting deeper in that warrior two. Next inhale, flip your front palm, tip back peaceful warrior. Breathing in, breathing out, breathing in and carve all your hands all the way down to the mat. Inhale, right leg up, down dog split, exhale forward to the three legged plank.

Take a breath in, exhale three legged chaturanga, inhale upward facing dog, back to downward facing dog. Inhale raise your heels, bend your knees past your hands and quietly float your feet together in between your hands. Inhale, flat back, open your chest, exhale forward fold. Right into the chair, sitting the hips low, drop the tailbone just enough that you can scoop in the low belly. Take the arms back, winging the chest open in your flat back chair.

The gaze forward will help you here. Take a breath in, right leg comes up flamingo pose. I'm really drawing that leg in using my abs, left leg is strong like the bottom leg of a flamingo. Then shoot that right foot forward and find your high lunge. Take a moment, maybe bend that back knee if it feels more comfortable in your body but do inflate your ribs.

Lift the ribs up like a balloon, find some opening up right here in the shape. In fact, if you're feeling it you might even tip the gaze up, tip the arms behind the ears. Next inhale lengthen your front leg, warrior two. Can you find a deeper stance today? Breathing in and breathing out, breathing in, breathing out, breath in and that front palm tips.

Tip back, peaceful warrior, finding that freedom in the left side, exhale, inhale, exhale, one half breath guys, exhale, cartwheel your hands down to the mat, inhale, lift that left leg up, down dog split, exhale, takes you forward, three legged plank. Look forward, exhale, three legged chaturanga dandasana. Inhale upward facing dog, exhale downward facing dog and now we flow, inhale raise those heels, exhale bend the knees and gaze, step or float the feet, inhale flat back, exhale forward fold, inhale chair posture, exhale long spine in the chair, inhale flamingo the left foot comes in, left knee is bent, step it back, high lunge, inhale lengthen your front leg, exhale warrior two, inhale peaceful warrior, you might flow the arm forward this time, exhale cartwheel the hands to the mat, inhale right leg up, down dog split, exhale flow through three legged plank, look forward, keep the chest open for that three legged chaturanga, inhale upward facing dog, exhale guts in, downward facing dog, breath in, breath out, inhale raise those heels, bend the knees, look, get light feet between the hands, inhale flat back, exhale forward fold, inhale utkatasana the chair, flat back in that chair with the chest open, take a breath in, right leg comes up, flamingo pose, inhale shoot it back high lunge, exhale warrior two, inhale peaceful, exhale hands to the mat, inhale left leg up, take it forward three legged plank, take it down three legged chaturanga, inhale upward facing dog, exhale downward facing dog one more time, I'm going to add on here, raise the heels, bend the knees and look, quietly feet land between the hands, inhale halfway lift, exhale forward fold, inhale chair pose, exhale flat back in that chair, take an inhale use the exhale to draw the whole left leg up, inhale warrior three, kick the left heel back, pivot the arms forward and breathe, you might go for a little extra back bend in the warrior three today, send the gaze a little forward, try to lift your pinkies up in line with your ear lobes, another breath in and then take it back high lunge, inhale straight in the front leg, exhale warrior two, inhale peaceful warrior, this time lengthen right leg, heel toe that back foot in and find an equilateral triangle, so your feet are as wide apart as one leg is long, any gesture of the right hand you prefer toe lock or hands down, breathing in, breathing out, maybe take the left hand behind the neutral to open up that chest, breathing in, breathing out, you might even take it to the half fine but know that we're coming to the half moon, looking forward, bending your right knee, bring your right fingertips forward in front of your right pinky toe and slide that left foot in guys, mess up your mat, lift the left leg, peel the left shoulder open, maybe hand flat and maybe on the fingertips, a block is your friend here too, play with opening up the arm and then the last expression of the pose for this flow is to take that gaze up, breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathing out, look down, take the left foot down, standing at the front of the mat with both knees soft, inhale flat back, big side forward fold, inhale chair, exhale flat back right there in your chair, take a breath in, right leg comes up and in, left leg strong on the mat, warrior three kick the right heel back, wing the arms forward, look forward, consider finding more of a back bend in your warrior three today, breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathing out, one more breath and take it back high lunge, inhale straighten your front leg, pass through that warrior two, inhale peaceful warrior and lengthen your left leg, heel toe the back foot in, close your eyes, find a triangle that is equilateral that works in your body, reaching forward and finding the proper place to put the hand on the shin, the floor, even the big toe lock. Now practice drawing a line across the side wall to transfer your gaze point up to the sky. Now this is a technique we'll use in a moment in our half moon.

Now we eat your right hand as if I were giving you a high five and some are going to want that half bind, that's all good. Maybe you can take it into our half moon pose, looking down, bending the left knee and walking those fingertips forward in front of your left pinky toe, slide the back foot in and then lift it up to parallel with the floor, potentially flattening left hand, then draw that line with your gaze, up the side wall to the sky. You can always free the right hand up, what is most opening? Breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathing out, breathing in and surrender the right foot down, forward fold, bend your knees as much as you need to, drop the head, find the earth again. Now the flat back once more and step your right foot back, tapping your back knee down.

Let's bring the hands on the inside of the left foot and turn your left toes out 45 degrees, aiming more or less towards the front left corner of your mat. Bring your left hand onto the left thigh and lean back, open up, feel free to come to an elbow or take the right hand wider if that feels good in your body, breathing in and breathing out, inhale, reaching that left arm up, big rainbow of a gesture towards the back of your mat, perhaps stay here or working towards the twisted monkey pose, bringing the foot into the hand, this magical little shape can exhale, bring the heel in and stretch your quad and then inhale, push back and focus on opening up shoulders and chest, so just flowing through, exhale, inhale, exhale, you pull, inhale, the foot pushes, exhale, inhale, release the foot if you have it and bring the hands on the inside of the foot, we're going to spin around to the other side of our mat, tap the back knee down, walk your right foot over to the right, toes come out 45 degrees and you'll notice I'm spinning to the outer blade of the foot, it's a great way to keep that knee safe, the hands gently on top of the knee and it's not forced so much as it's just a guidance of opening up that right hip, you can come down to the elbow or bring your left hand wide as you breathe in and breathe out, breathing in, breathing out, reach the right hand forward and then inhale all the way up towards the sky, towards that back foot, staying here or if you have the ability today the foot can come into the hand, breathing in, you kick the foot back, open chest, breathe out, you pull that foot in, opening quad, you might even take the mantra inhale open, exhale up, inhale open, exhale up, inhale open, exhale up, release the foot, big rainbow going the other way and we'll walk to the front of the mat and step back into plank pose, look forward and this time lower all the way down to your stomach and find a sphinx pose, elbows are underneath the shoulders and we're pulling the mat towards us reaching the ribs away from the hips yet again, should feel pretty good, breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathe out, come back to that core support, tucking the toes, take a breath in in the sphinx, exhale forearm plank, looking down towards your toes, crawling the low belly in and perhaps even lifting your hips above the line of shoulders and heels, flowing through inhale sphinx pose, exhale forearm plank, inhale sphinx, exhale forearm plank, inhale sphinx, forearm plank, arriving in your sphinx, option to walk the hands forward and play with the higher cobra today, elbows stay off the mat and we're pulling the floor isometrically to us to find some opening in the front of the belly, front of the hips, breathing in and breathing out, take your head down to the side, take a little rest, lifting your head, coming again to sphinx pose, now you might need to move back on your mat as I need to here so that you have the soft mat underneath your forearms, I'm bringing my right forearm across so that I can balance myself here and reaching back for the left ankle or the left foot really up to you, we're going to begin to push that foot back and find this half bow pose, option to stay or you can bring your right fingertips forward and get a little higher, ideally lift your right arm, lift your right leg and combine the bowing on the left side with the strength on the right side, inhale lift a little higher, exhale inhale and exhale melt your weight down and turn your head to the other side, breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathing out, come back to your forearms again and this time the left forearm comes across the front of the mat and the right fingertips can get long for a moment, now reach that right hand back and find your ankle or your foot and begin to kick up into the half bow pose, left fingertips can come forward now finding a little more height or lift your left leg, lift your left arm for extra strength, breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, breathing out, breathing in, melt your way down, bring your hands close to your low ribs and come to hands and knees, tent your fingers and take a cat cow here, tenting the fingers has a way of bringing that flexibility a little higher into the thoracic spine, sliding the shoulder blades off the back and then gently squeezing them together on the back, exhale inhale, exhale inhale to the table top, flatten your hands, downward facing dog, breathing in and breathing out, raise those heels, bend the knees, step or float your way forward, inhale flat back and exhale forward fold, at this point guys, find your block if you have it, bend your knees, take a slow roll up to stand, now we have done the half moon not using our block but because we're taking it into a variation today I suggest using the block and even placing it on its highest level as you're learning this shape, perfect placement would be to have your feet together and to find flat back here and place that block right underneath your shoulders, you'll find it organically wants to come in a line just in front of your right pinky toe, once you have your block where you want it, change nothing in that right foot but just swing your left foot out as if you're coming into a short triangle pose, we're going to bend the right knee and place the right hand lifting the left leg up for the half moon, the option today is to take it into the open bowed half moon, Ardha Trandra Tripasana, so I'm going to revisit that Flamingo Lake and see if I can catch the handle of my foot or ankle, I'm kicking back behind me even as I open my chest up towards the left, breathing in, breathing out, if you need to find the floor instead of a block or don't have one today a soft bend in the knee should be okay, then the last grace note in the shape is to open up the gaze, you want to trace a line up the side wall until you find the sky, breathing in, breathing out, breathing in and gently release pass through the half moon and come all the way up to stand holding on to your block, step it to the other side big toes together and after our first side you probably have a little more knowledge about what level you need that block on, I'm going to try this lowest level second side, forward fold, bend the knees so that you can rise up and swing your right foot back, here we go, bring the left hand out and come into your half moon, keeping the gaze down for now as you make something unfamiliar familiar, you'll bend that back leg and reach back for the heel or the top of the foot and then kick back, it's like an old style hip hop move, remember to open up your chest and then begin to trace that line, breathing in, breathing out, opening up, come back the way you came, rising to stand, hands to prayer at the heart and making our way through down dog to the mat. Step into the front of the mat, forward fold, flat back, downward facing dog, inhale lift the left leg up, roll forward to a three legged plank, bend the left knee and maybe play with that ecstatic heart opener, the rockstar pose, laying the left arm open up the chest, breathing in, breathe out, looking down, planting that left hand and now bringing the left knee forward just outside the line of your wrist as we set up for a pigeon pose, I am heel kneeing myself back to get deeper in the shape, you may know a block also goes well underneath the left hip if you need to bring the earth to you today, go ahead, come down, sphinx gesture is a great place to guide that left hip point back, find that lengthen opening up and then melt your upper body down to the earth, pigeon pose, draw your belly in and walk your way up right, roll all the way over to your left seat if you are using a block remove it and swing that right leg around for the seated spinal twist, this left heel can come in line with the knee, right heel in line with the left knee, right fingertips behind you, bring the left arm up and hook the elbow, of course if you have the space you can take that bind, try to find a long spine and even in the twist guide the right shoulder blade on the back and take advantage of all that space we found across the chest, breathing in, breathing out, breathing in and gently release, unwinding into a little counter twist, facing the front of the mat, straighten your right leg out and bring your left foot into the inner right thigh for jhana, legs like tree pose, turn, angle your sternum over the leg, inhale, find that opening, exhale, fold, you can walk the hands alongside the foot or take it a little deeper, moving the arms to the right, breathing in and breathing out, breathing in and breathing out, breathing in and breathing out, using your hands to come up right again and placing your left hand behind you, sail pose, press down, lift this right arm up, you can take a few sweeps of the right arm, enjoying that terrain of an open chest, open shoulders and then settle your hips down, we'll swing the legs around to downward facing dog and practice the second side, and now lift your right leg up, bend the right knee and open up the hip, transfer your weight forward like plank, consider placing the ball of the right foot behind you and opening up your right arm, rock star, ecstatic heart opener in the Sanskrit, so pretty, the weight of the right arm helps you open up and then look to the mat again, right hand down, lining up the right knee outside the right wrist, so it's a hip opener, the knee should be out to the side to instigate that, opening up and taking that opening with you as you pass through that sphinx gesture, guiding your right sit point back and then melt, breathing in, breathing out, breathing in and breathing out, breathing in, make your way on up, roll to the right sit point, remove any props, swing the left heel around right outside the right knee, fingertips are palm down and now right arm comes up, half fish pose, that seated spinal twist, feel free to sneak it into a bind, breathing in and breathing out, even here, left shoulder blade on the back, keeping your chest open, let's release, little counter twist and then the left leg lengthens, right foot on the inner left thigh, sitting up tall, facing straight left leg, forward folding or even adding a little twist, breathing in, breathing out, and breathing out, walk your way up, right hand behind you, lift up, sail pose, few more gestures of openness across the left arm and then coming to sit, sitting should be easier now, with the hips open and you can take advantage of the shoulder blades coming onto your back as well, once seated bring your hands together in a soft prayer, send your gaze down to that prayer and on an inhale begin to open up your fingers like the pedal of a lotus and exhale close the hands together in prayer, inhale open, exhale up, repeating this mantra, inhale open, exhale up, open, up, carry on, it's hypnotic, let your mind be focused on opening, up, up, this is a perfect place to stay or if your body needs a shavasana, bring your arms and legs wider today, even opening up across your mat. Inhale open, exhale open, open up, carry on, exhale open, open up, open up, open up, open open up, open up, open up, open up, open up, open up, open up, holy module open up, Grey happiness. I follow the absolute country to the freedom of all.


Brett Williams
Really enjoyed and connected with the sequencing, as well as the surprise kirtan. Favorited!
Dana Slamp
Lovely! Thanks for letting us know, Brett Williams - I think you’ll love the rest of the series as well. See you soon on the mat! Dana
Julie B
1 person likes this.
beautiful practice. thank you.
Dana Slamp
Thank you Julie 🙏🏾
Elissa P
2 people like this.
What Brett said. Exactly.
Holly P
What happened to E4??
Sarah Beston
Hi Holly, Just making sure you saw this episode 4: https://www.yogaanytime.com/class-view/2622/video/Yoga-Trust-Your-Vision-by-Dana-Slamp
Melissa H
1 person likes this.
Another lovely practice! I had a little trouble keeping up with the vinyasa in the first 15 minutes or so of the standing practice since so many of the poses originated out of downward facing dog and I couldn't see my screen! But, I sure loved all of the chest opening. Thanks!
Dana Slamp
Melissa - 🤣 Good point! I bet next time you practice it, your body will remember a ton & the early transitions will be easier. Thanks for the feedback & LMK how it goes! D
Lydia Zamorano
Feeling so touched by your voice! Singing supports my heart! Love.
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