Feeling down or simply need a pick-me-up?

Yoga’s heart openers are said to bring about a lightness to your heart as you stretch open your chest, making you more receptive to the love and beauty present in your life and within yourself.

Practice these 5 poses with deep, steady breaths to release some emotional tension and to brighten your mood.

 Always honor your body. Don’t force your body into something it’s not ready to do. 

 

1. Camel Pose

summerperezheartopenercamel

  • Kneel on the ground.
  • Lean backwards, placing your hands on your heels.
  • Keep your neck long and lift through your chest rather than simply bending through your lower back.
  • Variation: One of many is to extend your left leg out in front of you and bring your right hand hand up and back. Repeat on opposite side.

summerperezheartopenercamelvariation

 

2. Wheel Pose

summerperezheartopener wheel

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  • Place your hands by your ears, with your fingers pointed towards your feet.
  • Lift your hips with your legs as you press your feet into the ground, rotating thighs inward.
  • Lift your torso slowly as you press through your hands.
  • Keep the curve through your upper back as you lift through your chest.
  • Can be done on the balls of your foot.
  • Variation: Lift left, whether bent or straight up towards the sky. Repeat on opposite side.

summerperezheartopener wheel variation

 

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3. Bow Pose

summerperezheartopener bow2

summerperezheartopeners bow

  • Lie on your stomach then bend your knees.
  • Grab your ankles with your hands.
  • Inhale and lift your chest.
  • Variation: Flip grip- Reach back towards your feet with your palms facing out. Once you grab your feet, raise your elbows towards your ears (flipping your elbow position from facing the midline of your body to facing the sky) then extend upwards.

summerperezheartopener extendedbow

 

4. Wild Thing Pose

summerperezheartopener wildthing

  • Start in downward facing dog.
  • Lift your right leg up.
  • Begin to rotate your body onto your left side (pressing through your left hand and left foot) as you lead with your bent right leg until you are able to land the ball of your right foot onto the ground (knee will be bent).
  • Extend your right hand behind you as you lift your hips and chest.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.
  • Variation: If flipping over from downward facing dog is too much for you, start the pose with side plank then lead with the top leg.

 

5. Inverted Staff Pose/Forearm Backbend

summerperezheartopener upwardinvertedstaff

  • Lie on your back and bend your knees with feet hip width apart.
  • Place your hands by your ears with your fingers pointed towards your feet.
  • Go up as you did for wheel pose, then gently lower yourself onto the crown of your head and onto your forearms by bending your elbows one at a time.
  • Inhale and press your feet and forearms into the ground, lifting your chest.
  • Variation: Lift your left leg whether bent or straight up towards the sky. Repeat on the opposite side.

summerperezheartopener oneleggedinvertedstaff

 

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