20-Minute Yoga Flows Artwork
Season 4 - Episode 6

Expansive Heart Flow

20 min - Practice


Sarah leads an expansive flow class to bring loving awareness to the heart center. We start standing with Lotus Mudra, move through lunges to begin opening the body, flow through standing postures to open the heart space, and explore gentle back bending. You will feel light, spacious, and easeful.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Welcome and thank you for joining me for this expansive heart flow practice to bring attention and awareness to opening up through the heart space and the fourth chakra. So if you would please join me standing at the front of the mat, we'll start there and just take a moment to bring the feet about, hips distance, move around a little bit to establish your connection with the earth beneath you, maybe spread the toes, soften the knees and then we'll begin with the hands in lotus mudra. So bringing the hands together, let the fingers go wide. So the base of your hands together, fingers wide, let your shoulders soften. If it feels safe, let the eyes soften and close, just taking a moment to tune into your breath to this moment, to letting go of what may have come before, what may be coming after.

Just tuning in to the breath in the present moment and this lotus mudra is the opening of the heart mudra, this symbol of darkness to light, just that expansiveness, that openness through the heart. Bring a big full breath in as you draw the breath all the way up into the heart space. Maybe let out a sigh on your exhale, let something go. Good, one more like that. Big full breath in all the way up into the heart center, the energetic heart.

As you exhale, release and let something go. Beautiful, either coming back to the natural rhythm of your breath or maybe ujjayi. And on your next breath in, reach that mudra all the way up toward the ceiling. Maybe take your gaze up, feel the lift in the heart space as you root down through the soles of the feet and then dive forward into uttanasana, put a nice bend in the knees as you fold into this first forward fold. Let the crown of the head melt down.

Good, and then on an inhale, come halfway up. You might walk your hands up onto your shins as you lengthen through the spine, offering the heart forward. Good, and then step your left foot all the way to the back of the mat. So come into a lunge. Let your left knee lower down to the earth and as we come into anjjaynyasana, find that mudra one more time and press it all the way up toward the sky.

Feel the lift in the heart. Maybe take the gaze up, good, slight upper body opening here in the back body. Good. As you exhale, start to bend the elbows, cactus your arms, and then take the hands behind the back. Find an interlace.

You're welcome to hold opposite elbows if that feels better for you. Otherwise, start to draw the shoulders down the back. Feel the lift in the heart space, big full breath in. Good. And then exhale, hands release to frame either side of the front foot, half split, artha, hanamanasana, hamstring stretch.

Good. Folding over that front leg, couple breaths here. Feel free to keep a bend in your right knee. Beautiful. And then rebend through the right knee, downward facing dog, step the right foot back to meet the left.

And we're in our first down dog, so feel free to move around a little bit. Inhale into the back body, pedal it out. Breathing in. Breathing out. Beautiful.

Rise up onto toes, bend the knees deeply, step or lightly float your feet to your hands. Come to the front of the mat. On an inhale, lift halfway, other hands on shins or maybe fingertips are on the earth. Exhale forward fold uttanasana. Breathe down to rise, take that lotus mudra through the front body as you reach it up toward the ceiling, toward the sky, feel the lift in the heart.

And then gather your hands together in anjali mudra in front of your heart. Take a moment to tune into your heartbeat. Breathing into the heart space. Stay for the exhale and then we'll move it to the other side. So inhale, lotus mudra, sweep it up toward the ceiling, feel the lift in the heart.

Inhale, dive forward uttanasana. Inhale come halfway up, lengthen through the spine, arda uttanasana. This time step the right foot to the back of the mat. Let the right knee lower down to the earth and as we come into anjali mudra, sweep it all the way up, feel the lift in the heart space. Big breath in.

Good. As you exhale, start to bend the elbows, feel the opening through the chest and then bringing the hands behind the back, maybe take the opposite thumb on top. So the one that might feel a little awkward or opposite elbow and then draw the shoulders down the back, feel the lift, big full breath in, maybe lean back a little bit, keep the core engaged to protect your spine. Good. And then exhale, hands on either side of your front foot, shift the weight back, half split, arda hanamanasana, leading with the heart.

So feel the length in your spine, maybe spread the toes, feel free to bend that left knee. Beautiful. And then re-bend through the left knee, step it back to downward facing dog, left foot meets the right, maybe pedal it out a few times. Feel into the back of the legs, letting the torso just melt back toward the top of your thighs. Nice.

And from here, let's reach the right leg up to the sky, inhale, draw the knee into the nose and round, pause for a moment as you feel the opening through the back of the heart and then gaze between your hands, step your right foot through, setting up for warrior one, spin the back heel down, find your alignment with the feet and then sweep the arms, forward it up, take a moment to land, sink down toward 90 degrees in that front knee. Beautiful. And then hands behind the back again. Again you can interlace or maybe hold opposite elbows, whatever feels best for you. Start to draw the shoulders away from the ears, feel the lift in the heart space, big breath in, humble warrior, fold over that front leg, reach the arms up, let the crown of the head just melt down.

Notice the movement in the feet that are holding you up, the ankles, that subtle or not so subtle movement. Good. And then on an inhale, come all the way back up to warrior one, lead with the heart, arms sweep up, maybe take the gaze up, maybe press palms together above your ears, good, and then hands to the earth, this time we'll step back to plank pose, shift the weight forward, come halfway or all the way down, vinyasa, inhale, cobra if you feel ready for upward facing dog, feel free to straighten out the arms, firm the thighs up off the earth and then bring it back to down dog, big full breath in, long full breath out, good, sweep your left leg up, inhale, draw the knee to the nose, press the floor away, round through the spine, feel the opening in the back body, good, and then step your left foot all the way through, setting up for warrior one, spin the back heel down, arms sweep forward and up, take a moment to feel into this posture, find your alignment, drawing the left hip back as you let the right hip roll forward, soften the shoulders, where might you soften just a little bit in the body, in the heart, good, and then hands behind the back opposite weird thumb on top, draw the shoulders away from the ears, inhaling, exhale, humble warrior, hold in, arms lift, crown of the head melts down, breathing, loving this posture, just that word of humble, of devotion, bowing in towards yourself, nurturing your own heart, good, inhale brings you up, reaching arms up to the sky, maybe press palms together, gaze lifts, heart lifts, exhale, plank pose, move through a vinyasa chaturanga, inhale cobra or up dog, exhale downward, facing dog, stay for a breath, big full breath in, long breath out, good, coming back to the right side, inhale, right leg sweeps up, step all the way through between the hands, so same beginning, moving with the breath, inhale warrior one, exhale hands release behind the back, interlace, inhale draw the shoulders away from the ears, lift the heart, exhale, humble warrior, fold in, good, this time as you come up, let the left arm guide you up and open to warrior two, so we'll take a moment to find Virabhadrasana two, centering the weight, bending toward 90 degrees in that front leg, beautiful, and then on your next breath in, draw your hands to your heart, start to straighten through your front leg, good, as you exhale, press the hands away, rebend through that front knee, we'll do that two more times, inhale gathering energy, straighten the front leg, hands to heart, exhale deep in warrior two, one more, inhale hands to heart, just kind of moving the energy, exhale, press away what you don't need, and then flip your front palm, tilt back, reverse warrior, right away we'll start to straighten that front leg for reverse triangle pose, good, and then maybe shorten the stance a little bit as you come into triangle, right hand below the knee, left arm lifts, feel the heart spin toward the side wall, perhaps even a little bit up toward the sky, beautiful, and then making our transition into half moon, left hand to hip, put a bend in your right knee, reach your right arm forward, float your left leg up, flexing through that left foot, maybe float that left arm up toward the sky, embracing any movement here, pressing through the ball of your right big toe, beautiful, and then meet me in chair pose at the front of the mat, let your left foot meet the right, bend the knees deeply, let the knees stay level, arms sweep up, draw hands to heart center, maybe take that lotus mudra, you could stay right here, or take your prayer twist with your lotus mudra, stacking the elbows, draw the hips toward the height of the knees, and breathe, big full breaths in, long breath out, good, inhale, and then let your exhale release into a forward fold, maybe step your feet about hips distance, you might hook your peace fingers onto your big toes or any forward fold is great, on an inhale lift the heart, come halfway up, as you exhale at the elbows, splay out to the side, padangusthasana, just take a moment to breathe, to let that go, maybe shake your head yes and no, lovely, and then releasing your hands, come halfway and lengthen, offer the heart, arda uttanasana, vinyasa, if you want it, feel free to step right back into downward facing dog, you'll meet there, take your time to arrive, no rush, nowhere to get to, breathing in, breathing out, bringing that to the left side, inhale, left leg lifts, exhale, step through, so let the breath guide you as you come up into warrior one, big breath in, exhale hands behind the back, catch the opposite thumb on top, inhale, draw the shoulders back, lift the heart, exhale, bow forward, humble warrior, let the right arm guide you up and open, warrior two, take a moment to land, find your alignment front heel to back arch, settle it in, beautiful, on an inhale draw hands to heart, straighten through your front leg, gathering, as you exhale press the palms of your hands away from you, re-bend through that front knee, warrior two, good, with a breath inhale bring it in, hands to heart, straightening through the front leg, exhale warrior two, go one more inhale gathering, exhale press away, good, flip your front palm tilt back, reverse triangle start to straighten through the front leg, feel the length in the side body and then maybe shorten the stance a little bit, let the back toes turn in slightly, feel the length in the left side body, left hand below the knee, right arm lifts, lean back, take up space, feel that length in the spine, let the heart spin open, nice and then as we make our transition to half moon, right hand to hip, put a bend in the left knee, gaze down, fingertips under left shoulder, float the right leg up, flex through that right foot and you're reaching the right arm up, stacking shoulders and gently spinning the heart toward the side wall, good and then gentle transition as you draw your right foot to meet the left, utkatasana, chair pose, arms sweep up and then again draw that lotus mudra in front of the heart space, you could stay right here or twist right elbow on the outside of your left thigh, good and then sink it down a little deeper, draw the shin bones back, big full breath in, long breath out, good, inhale and exhale, release, step your feet about hips with, maybe slide the palms of your hands underneath the soles of your feet, letting the toes come up toward the wrists, big full breath in, exhale soften and release, let that go, maybe shake your head yes and no and just noticing where that movement lands in the body, give the wrists a little love with the toes, nice and then sliding the hands out from underneath your feet, come halfway up, inhale lengthen, offer the heart forward, vinyasa if you want it or maybe step it right back into downward facing dog, we'll meet there, good and then lowering the knees to the earth, let your forearms come down, let your shoulders come over the elbows, press through your hands, step both legs back for forearm plank, tucking the toes, engaging through the core and then reaching the heart forward between your arms, just a couple full deep breaths here, notice any movement, any not so gentle, subtle movement and then walk your feet in towards you as you come into dolphin pose, letting the sitting bones reach up, still that heart reaching forward between the arms, maybe even gaze between your thumbs, holding for just a couple breaths, getting upside down, shifting your perspective, breathing in, breathing out, good, one more time walk your feet back into forearm plank and then let your hips lower to the earth as you come into sphinx pose, untuck your toes, walk your hands forward a little bit and then draw the mat back a little bit as the heart reaches forward, engaging through the legs, breathing, good and then slide your hands back, so replacing your elbows with your hands, let the chin and the forehead melt down, inhale cobra pose, peel the chest up, big breath in, exhale as you lower down, move back into child's pose, let your hips sink back towards your heels and just take a moment to land, breathe into the back of the heart, back ribs, feel the earth beneath you, inhale to expand, feel that spaciousness, exhale to release, beautiful and then inhale to roll up, sit back on your heels for a moment, if it feels okay, tuck the toes and then sit back on your heels and we'll set up for a variation of camel pose, so bringing your knees to the earth, lift the hips, let your knees be about hips distance apart and let the hips keep tracking over the knees, now you can have the toes tucked or untucked, I'm gonna tuck my toes under, you can also pad up the knees if that feels a little sensitive and then bring the hands to the lower back, try to let the fingers face up as you support through the low back and lift up and out of the side waist, hug the elbows back, start to lift through the sternum, like you had a string from the sternum all the way up to the sky, take the gaze up, you might stay right here, this might feel like more than enough, it often does for me, if you wanna go a little deeper, maybe walk your hands down to find the heels or the ankles, keep lifting up through the heart space, hips over knees, if you had a place where you can breathe, feel that big expansive heart opening, inhaling, good and exhale coming out the same way we came in, hands to low back, lift from the core, untuck the toes and just take a moment to sit back on your heels, let your hands rest on the thighs, observe, breathe, notice where that lands, maybe draw one hand to the heart or both hands to the heart, embracing the heart space, that self-love checking in, feel your unique heartbeat, maybe close your eyes and just be here for the next minute or so, letting the breath move all the way up through the heart center, curiosity let it release. Welcome to stay here in this meditative space for as long as you can or desire, otherwise thank you so much for sharing this practice, this heart focused practice with me, namaste.


Christel B
2 people like this.
Lovely lotus mudra focus!  Your voice is so familiar and soothing, like meeting a friend again and again.   Amazing what effect a mere 20 minutes can do to focus my day as my body and spirit thank me for the effort and time on the mat. 
Julie M
1 person likes this.
Just beautiful - thank you Sarah x
Sandra Židan
Thanks, Sarah! Beautiful practice! Namaste!
Anastasia T
1 person likes this.
I didn't think I would have time to practice today (kids, work, etc.) and then your new video popped up.  Perfect.  I loved it.  Thank you.
Sarah Beston
1 person likes this.
So beautiful, Christel B! Thank you for sharing and I am so happy that we get to be together practicing in this unique way. Sending love!
Sarah Beston
Thank you so much for sharing this practice with me, Julie M!
Sarah Beston
Namaste and warmest wishes, Sandra Židan!
Sarah Beston
I love it when I can sneak in even 20 minutes of practice, Anastasia T! It really does make a difference. Thanks for the encouragement to roll out my mat right now!
Pat Pao
1 person likes this.
Thank you so much - a beautiful sequence that felt great!!!
Katrina F
1 person likes this.
Great heart centres session, really enjoying this season 4! Thank you.
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