Move to Meditate Artwork
Season 5 - Episode 4

Open Hearted Flow

30 min - Practice


Expand the heart and sit in your center in this flow leading to Dancer pose. We move through a supported vinyasa sequence, standing postures to stabilize the legs and hips, and blossom into an energetic Dancer pose, before dropping into meditation. You will feel a spacious, receptive, relaxed awareness.
What You'll Need: Mat, Blanket, Strap, Block

About This Video


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Hi, and welcome to this 30-minute practice. You'll need a blanket rolled up. You could also use a bolster or something that looks circular like this, and one strap and one block. And once you have that, please place the blanket onto your mat, and we're going to start one of my all-time favorite ways to start practice by opening the chest. So come down and first I like to put the shoulder blades right on the center of the roll, and then with my feet on the mat, push into the mat and just slide towards my head until the head comes to the ground, pelvis comes to the ground.

So that little slidey action takes the shoulder blades and pulls them down the back. We'll let the arms open out to the side, and you can decide whether the knee should be bent or if you'd prefer to straighten your legs up to you. Really important to enter your practice with a pause. So allow yourself to be still and feel gravity pulling the bones of your body towards the ground. And now notice where in your body this specific position, this pose, creates space.

Where do you feel a little tug, a little tension, a stretch? And wherever that place is, allow your breath to penetrate that space, the breath getting a little deeper and smoother and moving into where you find space. And as we move through this practice, if there's a place where you'd like to push pause on your computer and just take a little extra time in any of the positions, please feel free. We're going to move. I'm going to move along, bending the knees, putting the feet onto the mat, and then take your time rolling over, so you really feel the blanket rolling across the back.

Push into your hands and come up, and we're going to come into a child's pose with the hands on the blanket roll. If this is too much for your shoulders, just slide the blanket roll away and or take your hands wider. But if you can have your hands on the blanket roll, you have to measure your legs the right amount back and hands shoulder distance apart or a little bit wider on the roll. And then let your forehead come towards or to the ground and feel the pelvis releasing back and down as the arms reach forward. This is a subtle action, but if possible, roll the inner arms up and the outer arms, outer armpits as if there's little anchors there, draw them down.

And then wherever you feel sensation, breathe into that space as if there's little lungs right where you feel the impact of the pose. After your next exhalation, come up, come to hands and knees, keeping the hands on the soft blankets. And then as you inhale, just come to cow pose and remember the feeling of the blanket behind the shoulder blades. And as you exhale, press into the blanket, round your spine coming into cat pose, lifting the belly up. Inhale cow, remembering the shoulder blades being pressed to the back ribs, to the back lungs, and then exhale rounding, lifting front body into the back body.

One more time, inhale is our cow pose and exhale is the cat pose. And then come into neutral, walk your knees just a little bit further forward, we're going to come to one more version of child's pose with the elbows up onto the blanket and the hands in prayer up towards the ceiling. This ups the intensity of the shoulder opener. And then again, feel in your own body what's happening and breathe into the place where you feel the most amount of intensity from the pose. My guess for most of us, it's in the shoulder tricep, maybe between the shoulder blades.

So flood the shoulder region with breath. All right, and then lift your head, put your hands right on the far side of the blanket so that there'll be a little bit of support underneath your wrists as you come back into downward facing dog. Feel free at the beginning of dog pose just to wiggle around, find your way, reacquaint yourself with the pose. And then once again, this theme of finding where there's space, where there's stretch or strength and breathing into those places. And now try to keep the shoulder blades and the arms pretty steady as you rise to the balls of the feet.

So try not to let the shoulders move forward. And then as you exhale, reach your heels back and down towards the mat. Inhale, heels rise, upper body stays steady. Maybe it gets even a little longer. Exhale, heels back and down.

And one more time, inhale, rise up, firm legs, strong arms, exhale, heels back and down. Take a stroll to the front of the mat and when you get there, put the balls of the feet right up on top of the blanket and let your heels be down onto the ground. Your hands could be on the blanket, on the floor. If you wanted to have your hand on your blocks or a block, you could also do that if the floor feels far away. Now look at your feet.

It's common to roll to the outer edge of the foot. Try to keep the inner edge, the ball, the big toe rooting down. Inner of the heel roots down, back of the head releases down. When we elevate the balls of the feet, the stretch usually gets kicked down into the calves, a little bit less in the hamstring, more down in the calf. So breathe, like the calves kind of remind me sometimes of water balloons, but now we're going to let them be real air balloons.

So sending breath right into those calves. Okay let your knees bend, right foot back to a lunge, keeping the left foot up onto the blanket and then lower your knee down on Janayasana. Reach your arms up, lengthen up, feel pubic bone, navel, heart, head, fingertips in a big swoop and then generously open your arms. Bring your hands back onto the blanket, tuck the toes and step your right foot forward up onto the blanket. It's kind of interesting to do.

Left foot back to the lunge, lower your left knee, reach the arms out and up. I always refer to that feeling of lying back over the blanket roll in the back bends, trying to get some mobility up into the heart region. Arms open, hands down, straighten the back leg once again, hoist the left ball of the foot up onto the blanket roll and then step back behind your blanket roll. Feel the security of being right down onto the ground. Inhale elongate your spine, exhale fold over your legs and then root into your feet.

Inhale come up to stand, palms press at the top and as you exhale slide your hands right together in front of your beating heart and pause for a moment. Blanket heart, rooted feet, all right we're gonna have a little prop switch up. You can take your blanket roll, move it over to the side and get your strap and your block and put the block right up in between your upper inner thighs. Take your strap and allow your hands to be quite wide on the strap here for starters. This is my all-time favorite shoulder opener every day.

Inhale lift the belt up and as you exhale slowly belt back and down. Now your hands are too close if you have to kind of really struggle or shimmy to get through that backspace. Open the arms up and forward so you can adapt quite easily bringing the hands closer together if you don't feel anything or further apart if it's too intense and as we're moving the arms we're lubricating the shoulder joint and opening all these shoulder muscles. Really squeeze your outer legs into the block, outer thighs hugging the block and in this exercise sometimes I find my neck gets a little tired. If you feel like this is tiring your neck just drop your chin to your chest and continue a couple more times inviting a I think of wd-40 like a feeling of being lubricated in the shoulder joint and then the next time you find your arms right up over your head if your head is dropped look forward and then move straight over to one side you can do either side leaning to the side and the side that you're leaning away from hug that thigh in a little bit more into the block and then come up lots of space and height go over to the other side the leg that you're leaning away from hug that leg particularly strongly into the block and then come up to the center and just go from side to side a couple times on your own time you can go slower or more quickly but we perceive that you're in this it's called the coronal plane the side space of the body not leaning forward or back exploring the sides opening side ribs sides of the lungs sides of the diaphragm while keeping the legs very steady and smooth and then when it's time you come up to the center pause slowly take your arms back and down you're going to put the block to the side i mean the blanket no no this is a belt all of the straps all of the props start with b so sometimes i get them mixed up so we're going to use the block put it down and we're going to do a little vinyasa sequence maybe you want to watch the first time or you can come along with me it's a supported vinyasa so i'm going to start with the the block like this and the head your head may or may not be supported in downward facing dogkin depends on your proportions but we get the block underneath the head and then we come forward to plank and then right into up dog so the pubic bone finds the block that gives a nice little piece of information to the place where we want to lift from so pubic bone on the block belly lifts chest lifts shoulders roll back and then chaturanga bending the elbows wide chest back into up dog and then back into down dog we do it this many times so if you're not yet doing it with me join me now we're going to find a little rhythm to it so inhale brings us to up dog collarbones wide exhale chaturanga inhale pushing into the floor up dog open throat exhale down dog inhale up dog exhale chaturanga inhale up dog exhale down dog two more times on your own make sure you're breathing so good to do okay when you're done bring your knees down and just place your block over to the side that's such a good heat builder and prana builder next time you're feeling a little low energy i think that would be a good idea that little sequence and it's supported which is nice we'll meet back in downward facing dog and lift the right leg up let your hip open let your knee bend keep steady in the arms breathe into the pockets of space you're creating here and then reach your right leg up step forward to a lunge root your back heel get firm in your foundation and then rise up into warrior one here we are with that swooping feeling again from the back foot feel the strength of the back leg and then the length of the spine as if you're leaning back over that blanket roll no part of your spine should feel jammed or pinched from here bring your spine to vertical hands together in front of the heart lean forward we're coming into warrior three if you want to extend your arms or take them to the side that's fine i'm going to keep my hands at my heart center warrior three lengthening from the waist to the head and from the waist to the left heel from here bend your right knee quietly go back into high lunge arms up take a breath in exhale hands to prayer twist hook your left elbow you could do the open arm version as well or hooking the left elbow hands to prayer and then use the right hand pressing into the left hand to open the whole right side of the chest rolling the right shoulder back a few breaths here notice where the breath goes look down hands find the mat plank lower slowly onto your belly bend both knees reach back hold your feet pause here pull your shins back and do the mellowest bow of your life just mellow mellow relaxed bow we'll have a chance to do a more vigorous bow soon so just use this opportunity just be in this shape without a lot of pushing or pulling or tension release hands by your ribs press up upward facing dog and pull back down dog breathe here inside left leg rises up hip opens and the left knee bends sink the right heel there we are with another calf stretch as you press evenly through both arms and then lift the left leg step forward spin your back heel down and from the roots rise up into warrior one feel in warrior one where there's space breathe into that space and also let your breath flood throughout the whole pose hands come together invite the heart to quiet down scoot your back foot forward warrior long strong legs long strong spine bend the leg you're standing on float back into high lunge breathe in exhale twist right elbow to the outside of the left leg hands to prayer super strong legs and the left hand pressing into the right hand to turn the chest slowly smoothly unwind hands find the mat step back down dog inhale plank exhale lower bend your knees hold on to your ankles pull the shins back this is our energetic bow shins pull back lift your thighs let your upper body ride the energy of the legs soften down press back child's pose arms extended come up to hands and knees dog pose bend your knees look forward walk or jump forward breathe in lengthen breathe out fold inhale chair exhale mountain pose okay our big shazam pose is dancer so there's different ways to do dancer but we're going to do a relatively simple way that's very much in the bow pose family so we'll hold on to the right ankle you can always do this facing a wall with your hand at the wall for stability let's bring left hand yana mudra index finger and thumb join and then begin just like bow pose just like energetic bow kick the right leg back at a certain point the pelvis tips over the left thigh bone imagine the blanket behind your heart steady breath soft eyes mountain pose hand side hold on to the left the left ankle i'm going to face this direction get some different scenery right arm goes up unless it's holding on to a wall yana mudra it's a seal of knowledge couldn't hurt seal of knowledge lift pubic bone to navel and begin to kick back and let go from the mellow bow into the energetic bow and then at a certain point the pelvis tips over the right thigh left ribs wrap forward eyes soft mountain pose widen your feet on the mat bring hands to hips inhale lift your chest exhale come halfway forward bring your fingertips to the ground underneath your nose right arm up twist right arm down left arm up twist left arm down one more time inhale right arm up just kind of soothing and massaging the spine after those back bends exhale down left arm up down take your hands walk them all the way to the right ankle just gently fold over your right leg couple of breaths here leap over to the left couple of breaths here and we'll come back to the center and allow the spine just to drape straight down towards the ground head heavy this is our cooling pose before we move into some meditation so they have the energy of the brain dropping down right and then elongate your spine put your hands onto the floor and either step or jump your feet together and bring your knees down to the ground and you can sit in any position that you'd like of course i'm going to sit in virasana by unroll my blanket so i have something soft at the base it's always nice to have something soft underneath me in this unsoft world and then with the block underneath the sitting bones sit in virasana it's very symmetrical and grounding for me you need to figure out what's grounding for you and then let's just take a moment let the head roll around in any way that feels uh comfortable or good like it will release some of the tension from life this is kind of a preemptive strike because oftentimes in meditation students sit down and immediately start doing this with their heads there's this desire to find space in the neck all right and then let's find the head just floating right up and let's take the hands put your dominant hand in your non-dominant hand and allow your hands to rest onto your legs the tips of my thumbs are touching feel what's touching down and root yourself through the base of your pose and then feel the crown of the head gently floating up and notice in your body here in this neutral position where you feel any amount of space or any what's called prana kind of a feeling of life in your body and then see if you can allow those more awake places to spill to the sleepier places or the more dull places in your body so that you end up with an awareness of your entirety and I invite you to have a very relaxed awareness it's kind of like reminds me of the mellow bow nothing pushing pulling aggressive just a relaxed awareness into the experience of your whole body right here and right now when your mind slips away shepherd your attention back your whole body right here right now now so as you listen to the sound of the bell reach your arms way up to the ceiling give yourself a big stretch and then allow your hands to slide right together in front of the breastbone let your thumbs rest on your body and as you move into your day or your evening I encourage you to notice where in your body there's space even if it's just a teeny bit breathe into that space and then invite the breath to flood throughout your body moving to your skin and maybe even beyond who knows how much beyond thank you so much for practicing


Jennifer E
3 people like this.
I loved the use of the props in this class. Really helped me to feel more open. Thank you so much, Margi!
Kate M
3 people like this.
Again, this practice lead to a profoundly restorative śavāsana. So, so lovely. Thank you, Margi : ) 
Laura M
2 people like this.
I loved his sequence so much! Thank you Margi!
Jenny S
1 person likes this.
Mmmm….nice balancing mix of Yin and Yang 🪷 I loved the use of the blanket roll and the supported vinyasa ❤️. 
Sandra Židan
Thanks, Margi, for this wonderful and relaxing practice! I've enjoyed doing it! Namaste! 🥰🌹❤️
1 person likes this.
I enjoyed the wonderful and fresh use of props in this sequence. Thanks so much.

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