20-Minute Yoga Flows Artwork
Season 6 - Episode 5

Lead with Your Heart

20 min - Practice
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In this heart-opening vinyasa flow practice, we bring special awareness to the heart space while allowing our breath to blossom with each gesture. You will feel open and tender.
What You'll Need: Mat

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Welcome and thank you for joining me for this heart focused flow practice. We'll begin seated if you'll make your way to a comfortable cross-leg seated position and then gather the hands together in front of the heart in Anjali Mudra. Just taking a moment here to arrive, to tune in, perhaps noticing the heart beating in your chest and just inviting this quality of tenderness into the heart space will lead with our heart. Find your breath. Maybe setting a heartfelt intention here, checking in with the question of what is your heart's deepest desire? Holding that with you as we move into this flow as you're ready, blink the eyes open in. On an inhale, sweep the arms all the way up. You might gaze up toward the fingertips and then as you exhale, draw your hands back in front of your heart and we'll just start to move with our breath. So letting the inhale sweep the arms up, gaze up. As you exhale, draw prayer in front of your heart space. And then one more inhale, sweep the arms up. And as you exhale, draw prayer in front of the heart. Beautiful. This time open the arms wide, so feel the palms facing up as the heart opens, gaze up. And then as you exhale, let the right arm come under the left and just give yourself a hug as you round. So tucking the chin around the spine, lean back a little bit. And then as you sit up nice and tall, eagle arms, right arm under the left, draw the elbows up and away, big breath in. And then exhale, draw the elbows in towards you, rounding through the spine, tucking the chin.

Beautiful. Release hands behind you. Let your fingertips come to the earth, lean back, maybe lift up the hips. Good. And then place your hips back down. We'll change the crossing of the legs. So take the opposite shin in front, and we'll just do that with the other arm on top. So as you inhale, open arms wide, palms up, maybe lift the gaze. As you exhale, left arm underneath this time, give yourself a hug, round, tuck your chin round through the spine. Good. And then eagle arms, as you sit up nice and tall, draw the elbows up and away from you, big full breath in. Exhale, draw the elbows in, tuck the chin, rounding forward, feel the opening in the back of your heart. Beautiful. And then as you release arms back behind you, fingertips to the earth, lean back, heart lifts, maybe lift up through the hips. Good. And then meet me in all fours. We'll make our way to tabletop as we come out of there. And then as you come to your tabletop, let your hands come under your shoulders, but tent your fingertips. Keep the hips right over the knees. And as you keep the hips lifted, start to walk your hands forward for anahatasana, heart opening pose, letting the chest melt down toward the earth. Maybe bring your forehead down. And then breathe into the space here. Breathe into the shape. Notice where you feel this. Good. And then slowly walk your hands back in towards you. Come to all fours. We'll tuck our toes and come into our first down dog, lift the hips all the way up and back. And in this first dog, just start to move around a little bit. You could pedal it out, sway hips, shake head yes and no. It's really feeling into this shape. For me, downward facing dog is right away, lets me notice how my body is feeling. We're getting upside down, heart up overhead. Beautiful. And then slowly walk your feet to your hands, come to a forward fold at the front of the mat. Feel free to put a nice big bend in your knees, letting everything just start to melt down over the legs, torso draping down. Whatever feels good with your arms. I'm just letting them kind of hang. You might be holding opposite elbows. Beautiful. And then with the knees soft, roll up nice and slow, vertebra by vertebra. Coming to stand at the front of the mat, take the shoulders with you up towards your ears and then roll them down the back. Take a moment to find mountain pose, tadasana, bringing hands together in front of the heart space. Good. As you're ready, inhale, sweep the arms up, take a hold of your left wrist and tilt up and over to the right for a side body stretch. You may be gazing up and under that left arm, rooting down through the left sole of your foot.

Inhale, back through center, hold the right wrist, tilt up and over to the left, feel that side body stretch. Breathing into this shape. Beautiful. As you inhale, come back through center, dive forward into uttanasana, forward fold. On an inhale, lift halfway, lead with the heart, arda uttanasana. Good. And then step your left foot all the way to the back of the mat, coming into low lunge, let the left knee lower down and then sweep the arms forward and up on jannyasana. Take a moment to feel the support beneath you, grounding through the shape. Good. And then put a bend in your elbows as you lift up through the chest. So cactus the arms. And as you inhale, sweep the arms back up to the sky. We'll do that a couple times. Exhale, bend the arms, cactus the arms, feel the opening in the chest. Inhale, sweep the arms back up. Exhale, bend elbows one more time, feel that opening. Good. Let your hands frame your front foot and step back. Downward facing dog, right foot meets the left. On an inhale, come forward into plank pose. As you exhale, welcome to lower the knees or keep them lifted slowly lower all the way to the earth. Coming into low cobra, peel the chest up, hug elbows in. As you exhale, press back, downward facing dog. Good. And then take that slow walk to the front of the mat again. Let it be nice and easy. Let it feel good. Soften your knees. Roll up slow, vertebra by vertebra. Bring the shoulders with you and then draw them down your back. Take a moment to draw hands to heart center. And we'll come to the other side. As you're ready, sweep arms up. Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, lift halfway and lengthen. Offer the heart. This time, step the right foot all the way to the back of the mat. Low lunge, right knee lowers. Arms sweep up. Take a moment to just find your stability and your low lunge. Big, full, expansive breath in as you exhale, cactus the arms, bend the elbows, heart lifts, gaze lifts. Inhale, sweep arms up.

Exhale, bend elbows. One more. Inhale, arms sweep up. Exhale, elbows bend, chest opens. Let the hands come down, step back. Downward facing dog. Inhale, plank. Exhale, lower halfway or all the way down, chaturanga. Either staying with cobra, maybe coming to upward facing dog. Straightening out the arms, firming the thighs up off the earth. And then meeting back in your downward facing dog. Big, full breath in. Long breath out. Good, slow walk front of the mat. And as you're ready, slowly roll up one vertebrae at a time. Roll out your shoulders. And then again, just drawing the hands to heart center. So take a moment to let your weight kind of shift back and forth as you find stability beneath the soles of your feet. Really grounding through the soles of the feet. We'll play with balance a little bit here. So bringing the weight into your right foot, start to bend your left knee, reach back with your left hand to catch your left foot. Beautiful. And then if it feels okay, reach the right arm up. You could stay right here or start to kick your foot into your hand as you tilt forward for dancer pose. So we're letting the torso start to lower, but keep your heart lifted. Big, full breath in. And then as you come out of here, we'll let the left toes find the back of the mat to find crescent pose. You're welcome to lower that back knee down or keep it lifted. And then same thing will bend the elbows as the heart lifts. As you inhale, sweep the arms up. As you exhale, bend the elbows. You might bend that back knee and tap it down to the earth. Inhale for crescent. One more time like that. Exhale, elbows, bend the heart lifts. Inhale as you come up. Beautiful. And then hands frame your front foot, step back, downward facing dog. Either staying here or glide forward to plank. Big breath in. Exhale halfway or all the way down. Chaturanga. Inhale cobra or upward facing dog. Exhale down dog. Good. Slowly walk your feet forward. Good. And then roll up. Roll the shoulders up towards your ears. As you roll them down the back, let the heart open. Arms sweep up. Exhale, draw hands to heart space. Again, just find that grounded stability beneath the soles of your feet. This time bringing the awareness to the left foot, bend the right knee, reach back with your right hand. Catch your right foot. Good. Maybe reach that left arm up and you could stay right here. If you're near a wall, you might be holding onto the wall.

Otherwise, start to tilt forward as you kick your foot into your hand. Heart stays lifted. Find that point to focus, your drishti, your gaze. Good. And then softly stepping right toes to the back of the mat and take a moment to land. Crescent lunge. Good. Put a bend in the elbows, heart lifts, gaze lifts. Inhale, sweep the arms up. Good. This time, maybe as you bend the elbows, whoop, I gotta look forward. Let your right knee tap down, bending. Inhale, back up to crescent. Good. Bending elbows, bending right knee. Inhale, crescent. Good. Let your hands frame the front foot, down dog, left foot steps back to meet the right. Inhale, plank. This time, we'll take a slow lower all the way down to the belly. Good. Reach your arms back behind you, either actively reaching arms back. You might catch an interlace behind your back and then start to peel the chest up off the earth. Heart lifts here. Feel the length in the back of your neck. If you'd like, maybe add the legs, lifting them up off the earth for shalabhasana. Think about lifting and lengthening here. Breathing in. Good. As you exhale, relax one cheek to the earth and just let your body yield to the support beneath you. Notice what you see, what you hear, how you feel. Maybe sway your hips side to side. We'll come for another round as you come through center, chin or forehead to the earth. Reach your arms back actively or find that interlace. Lift everything up. Lift and lengthen. Big expansive breath in. As you exhale, opposite cheek to the earth. Maybe sway your hips side to side. Let the body yield to the support beneath you and just become aware. Awareness and intention.

We move. One more shape. If you'd like, bend both knees. Reach back. Find your feet or your ankles with your hands. Start to kick your feet into your hands and you could lift up into a bow pose dhanurasana. A couple of full deep breaths. Beautiful. And then as you release that down, maybe reverse windshield wiper legs side to side. Releasing any tension here. Good. And then to open up through the back body, let's press the hips back to the heels and find child's pose. Big expansive breath in. Big exhale. Beautiful. And then meet me back in downward facing dog. We'll tuck the toes, lift the hips all the way up and back. And we'll come to seated at the front of the mat, rising high up onto toes. Bend your knees. You could hop your feet forward or just lower the knees down and come to seated. Good. As you find your seat, let's bring the soles of the feet together. Let the knees open up wide and you can hold on to your feet or your ankles. Let the spine be nice and long. Big full breath in. Good. Baddha konasana. Fold in, just getting into the hips a little bit, leading with the heart as you come forward. Maybe tuck your chin, rounding. Let's take three to five full deepest breaths of the day. Sometimes it's nice to let the exhale be a little longer than the inhale. So if you were to put a count of three or four to the inhale, you can exhale for five or six.

Inhaling for one, two, three, four. Exhale one, two, three, four, five. Beautiful. Inhale with the heart. Come all the way up. Stretch the legs out in front of you, sitting up nice and tall on your sitting bones. Wiggle in, reach your arms up. Big full breath in and then leading with the heart forward, fold passchimottanasana. And maybe again, finding that count, the breath, giving the mind something to focus on. What is it that brings you to this moment, to the here and the now? You can use our breath, our sensations, our senses. Breathing in. Good. Stay for the exhale and then on your next breath in slowly come up, reach the arms forward. Try to keep the heels connected to the earth and then take a slow roll onto your back. Good. Hug your knees into your chest. Rock a little side to side massaging through the back body. Maybe take your knees in circles in either direction as a way of massaging through the lower back and take them clockwise and counterclockwise. Maybe you draw the knees away from you and then in and in and then away. Just kind of noticing how that feels, what would feel really good right here. Beautiful. And then stretching your legs long, bringing the palms to face up on either side of the body. Feel the heart lift as you draw shoulders down the back, bringing awareness to the breath. One last time together, inhaling for one, two, three, four, exhale five, four, three, two, two, and release. Let go of any effort. Allow yourself the next minute or two to find Shavasana. Thank you. Tuning your awareness back to your heart space, your heartfelt sankalpa or intention, that inner knowing and just taking your time to come back. Any movement, gathering knees back in, we'll roll up to find seated. If you want to stay in Shavasana longer, please feel free. Otherwise, bringing hands right where we started in front of the heart space, Anahata, the light and love in me, greets and honors, the light and love in each of you. Namaste.

Comments

Sandra Židan
This was short but sweet practice! Thanks, Sarah! Namaste! 💗
Lina S
5 people like this.
Perfect when in need of a centering practice in a short time!
Sarah Beston
You are so welcome, Sandra Židan! Glad you enjoyed the practice. Warmest regards, Sarah
Sarah Beston
1 person likes this.
I am glad to hear this was a centering practice for you, Lina S! Warmest wishes, Sarah
Jenny S
3 people like this.
Hello Dancer’s Pose! It’s been a while! I always forget how much I love this asana, the perfect blend of heart opening and balance. I love that you brought in locust pose as well - such good medicine! 🥰
Catherine A
Delicious heart opening class, Sarah! Happy New Year to you with many thanks for your gentle and kind guidance throughout 2022......🥰💖
Christel B
2 people like this.
Winding down 2022 and winding up for 2023 with your lovely practice.
Namaste
Sarah Beston
1 person likes this.
Heart medicine feels pretty good these days, Jenny S. I have been practicing back east and it seems that every class has incorporated dancer pose—so funny. Light and blessings for 2023!
Sarah Beston
1 person likes this.
New Year Blessings, Catherine A! Thank you for sharing this practice with me. Warmly, Sarah
Sarah Beston
New Year Blessings, Christel B! Wishing you and yours light and love as we move into 2023. 
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