In the winter it can be tempting to stay inside and cozy up by the fire until the snow makes way for spring flowers, but this year I’ve resolved to bundle up and get out to experience all of the beauty this season has to offer. Crisp air, beautiful snow filled fields and the unforgettable sunsets are just a few of the rewards you receive for getting outside and connecting with nature when everyone else is staying inside.
Pre and Post-Natal yoga instructor Lara Reimer (@lbreimer) has created a quick heart opening flow for us to get outside and reconnect with nature. So bundle up, grab your mat and get ready to open your heart to the beauty of winter.
Warrior II (Tadasana) with prayer hands
Warrior II is a powerful, strength building pose that provides a deep stretch for your legs, groin and chest. It allows you to open your chest, increasing lung capacity and improving circulation. Your hands in prayer position can serve as a reminder to keep your heart open. Starting from Mountain, taking a deep inhale to centre yourself, exhale as you step your foot back approximately 4 to 5 feet (a wide stance.) Turn your back foot 90 degrees insuring your heels are inline. Your front foot should be turned slightly inward, as you bring your arms up to shoulder height creating a nice straight line from fingertip to fingertip. On the exhale, lunge into your front leg, ensuring your knee is stacked directly above your ankle. Using each inhale to grow taller through the spine, actively bringing navel to spine, and each exhale to lunge a little deeper.
Reverse warrior (Virparita Virabhadrasana)
Reverse Warrior pose strengthens the quads, arms and neck and helps to open the chest and shoulders, while contributing to an increased sense of self-esteem and perseverance. Reverse Warrior is a great pose to transition into from Warrior II. Turn the front palm toward the sky, and the back palm down as you gently guide it down the back leg. Inhale bringing your front arm up, palm facing towards the back of the room. Maintain a nice strong lunge in the front leg, and a long neck as you open up your chest/heart. Come back into Warrior II and take a deep breath as you centre yourself.
Triangle pose (Trikonasana)
From Warrior II, reach your fingers forward, straightening the front leg. Folding forward, bring your front hand beside your front ankle and extend your back arm overhead. Using your breath open your chest as you extend your arm overhead and allow your gaze to follow. Continue to allow your chest to open as you breathe into this stretch.
Pyramid is a wonderful pose for building balance, creating postural awareness and calming the mind. Starting in Mountain Pose, step back with your right leg, angling your foot approximately 45 degrees. This will allow your hips to remain squared towards the front of your mat. In this modified version, inhale as you roll the shoulders back and down, opening your chest and reaching for opposite elbows or prayers hands behind your back. Grow long through the spine, and exhale as you hinge from the waist, leading with your heart, and imagine bringing your chin to your shin (this is the motion you want to create.)
Tree Pose (with cactus arms) (Vriksasana)
This amazing pose allows you to build balance and increased concentration. This modification includes cactus arms to help you open your chest and creates a beautiful heart opener. Starting in Mountain, feet firmly rooted and weight evenly distributed among all four “corners” of each foot. Bring the sole of your right foot to either your ankle, calf or inner thigh, wherever you feel most comfortable and balanced. Avoid placing pressure on your knee. Inhale grow tall through the spine, rooting through your standing foot as you bring your hands up to prayer position. Feel free to “grow” your tree by bringing your arms apart, opening your palms and chest as you create your cactus arms. However, note this may increase the difficulty of maintaining your balance.
Repeat this series of poses on the other side of your body, creating the intention and focus of opening your chest and your heart.
Disclaimer: Please consult a physician before starting any routine. This article is not intended to cure or treat any illnesses. Please use discretion and do not do any moves that feel painful or you do not feel comfortable with.
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