If you have been feeling emotionally depleted, are suffering from loss or grief, or just feel your heart could use some love - this practice is for you. Our Heart Chakra is associated with compassion, love, acceptance and all of those things begin with us. The Heart Chakra is the center of our chakra system - linking like a bridge - the upper and lower chakras. This is where balance can be found between the physical self and the spiritual self. In this practice we use Yin Yoga poses, breath regulation, mudras, and mantra to bring healing, acceptance and compassion to our heart center.
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Take the first 2-5 minutes of your practice to bring awareness to your heart center. Imagine the color green here - healing, restoring, refreshing. Connect to your breath and breathe lightness and compassion into your Heart Chakra.
Hold: 3-5 minutes/side
Come onto your hands and knees. Bring your big toes together and knees apart slightly (bringing them closer together opens the front thighs more). Keeping your hips low to the heels (prop with blankets or blocks if needed), allow your torso to drop forward, resting your head on your fists or hands or the floor. Allow your head to be supported fully with the weight on the space between your eyebrows. This will bring some softness to your whirling thoughts and quiet your mind (hold here for 2-3 minutes). Use a block for your head if needed for comfort.
Hold: 3-5 minutes
Come onto your seat bringing the bottoms of your feet together either close or far from your hips. Take your hands behind you, turned back slightly and out, and lean back. Lift your chest and chin upward as if readying to take flight. Allow your shoulders to soften and remain here for 3-5 minutes. To come out, take the legs straight and release to the floor for 1-2 minutes.
Supported Fish Pose
Hold: 3-6 minutes
Take a rolled towel or blanket across the mat. Settle down onto it with the shoulders fully supported at first and then slowly begin to inch your way towards the floor with shoulderblades barely grazing the floor behind you. Start here allowing the shoulders and upper back to fully release and open. Take your arms up overhead or out to sides (even interlacing them if comfortable). You can stay here for the remainder of the time OR gently inch your way to where the shoulders are fully supported on the floor. To come out - bend knees, press into your feet and lifting your hips - remove the blanket from underneath. Bring your hips back down and relax for 5 more breaths before continuing.
Supine Cowface - Arms Variation (Gomukhasana arms shoulder stretch)
Hold: 2-4 minutes
From a lying down position, roll onto your left side and tuck your right arm, palm out, up between the shoulder blades (remember 2/3 of your maximum). Begin to roll onto your back keeping the right hand underneath you and adjusting as necessary to hold here. Take your left arm up and over your head, palm up, and rest your head on your elbow, forearm or hand (reaching the hand down as far as you feel comfortable). Your arms will be in Cowface pose arms position underneath you. Settle in, breath and sense the areas of the body being released. To come out, release your left hand, roll to your left and release your right hand and lie flat for 5 breaths. Check in with your body and then go onto the second side.
Hold: 3-5 mins per side
Come onto your back and walk both heels over to the right, stacking the right ankle over the left (this helps ground the body)(option to just keep them side by side). Keeping the hips in place, move your upper body and head over to the right as well. Take arms up overhead and grasp left wrist with right hand OR simply take hands where you feel stretch but not pain. Turn your head wherever it feels most comfortable. Take deep breaths into the left side body feeling the opening from the left foot through the left hand. To come out, release the hands to the hips and move the upper body back to center. Slowly unwind the ankles and realign the lower body to center. Relax with arms and heels wide for 1 minute. Take the second side.
Hold: 3-5 mins/side
Come onto your back. Gently press through your feet to lift hips over to the right side. Bring knees to chest and drop over to the left side, stacking the knees as much as possible (using a block underneath if the knees don't come to the floor easily). Take arms wide out from shoulders and turn head to the right. Allow gravity to pull your knees ground bound and settle your shoulders deeper AND/OR take your left hand on top of your right thigh to add weight. Enjoy the release of the spine, back and hips in here and breathe deeply into the space you have found. To come out, turn head to center, engage core and come back to center hugging knees in and rocking for a few breaths. Take the second side.
Hold: 5-10 minutes
Allow the feet to slide out to the width of your mat, slide your shoulder blades underneath your body, and take your hands to your heart space. Take some deep breaths, coming back to the 3 part breath - first in the belly, then in the chest and finally the collarbones - and extend the exhale even longer. Allow yourself to sigh a few times and let it all go! Feel your heart, sense a soft green light glowing here and growing stronger and stronger filling your entire body and refilling your heart. Sense your heart's openness and feel deep compassion and love for yourself.
Bring heels of hands together with thumbs and pinkies touching and the other fingers spread open in a flower shape. This is a Heart mudra. Spend 1-2 minutes holding this mudra in front of your heart and connect to your sense of acceptance and compassion.
I have been "playing" and experimenting with yoga, aromatherapy and healthy living since my late teens - researching, testing, reading, investigating, and learning anything that would make my life - and the lives around me - better naturally.
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All rights reserved by Aprille Walker and The Yoga Ranger Studio 2014-2018 (copyrighted material)