Summer Heart Opening Yoga Sequence (part one-revised)
Well it's summer and summer is associated with the fire element. Which means heat is also associated with the summer. Each seasonal change can bring about imbalances within the body. The imbalances that can occur are either depleted or amplified within the body.
Sometimes winter and spring seasons can take a lot of energy from the body, therefore the internal fire dwindles. This puts the body out of balance and can cause fatigue, low energy and even depression. When the fire element is amplified, it can cause aggression and restlessness. There are a few ways to bring balance back into the body and mind. In this post you will find ways to ignite internal fire by doing a more active yoga sequence.
The first way is by helping the body through this yin yang summer heart opening yoga sequence. It is meant to ignite the internal fire that may have become weak during the winter and spring. This yoga sequence will help get the blood pumping and energy moving.
Summer time is the perfect time to refocus and get the body and mind into shape. The fire element and heart opening poses in this sequence help to get the energy flowing in the body, since sometimes energy can be lower in the summer. Practicing heart opening poses with in a normal yang (hatha, vinyasa) yoga session, allows the fire to ignite within the body in order to get inspiration and internal energy kicking.
Practicing chest opening poses within a slower yang or yin (poses held for longer periods) yoga practice can help bring balance to overactive fire in the body. These slower paced practices can help to cool the body and internal fire. Using meditation and imaging can help to reduce fire in the body as well. This will be covered more in part two of this sequence.
**This is an updated post with more information and poses. It is part of a series, click here to see more. It's important to me as a yoga teacher and practitioner to keep the information on my site current.**
Heart Opening Yoga Sequence to Ignite Internal Fire
Start with a few rounds of Surya Namaskar A (sun salutation A) to warm the body gradually. If you have time, you can transition from sun salutation A into Surya Namaskar B (sun salutation B) for two-three rounds. These babies are great for starting to build heat in the body. If you need to ease more into the sun salutations, try some child's pose, cat/cow and downward dog first, then start your sun salutations.
Ardha Pincha Mayurasana (Dolphin pose): From downward facing dog, walk down to the forearms grounding down into your mat. Continue reaching the hips up, melting the heart down. If this is too hard on the shoulders, stay in downward facing dog for a few extra breaths, melting the heart toward the feet.
Plank pose: From dolphin pose, lift one elbow and then the other pressing the floor away with the palms. Walk the feet out behind until you come into a plank. Engage the shoulder blades onto the back, lifting the ears away from the shoulders and gaze in between hands, keeping the neck inline with the spine.
Bhujangasana (cobra pose): Come to your belly, placing your hands under your shoulders near your upper ribs. Work the tops of your feet into the floor and hug the elbows in. On an inhale roll the shoulders back and away from your ears as you reach the crown of the head up. Start to straighten your arms to your comfort level.
Dhanurasana (bow pose): From laying on your belly, bring hands alongside your torso, palms facing up. Exhale, bending your knees bringing the feet as close to your bum as possible. Reach back and hold the ankles with the hands. Inhale lifting the feet up and thighs away from the floor. Allowing the torso to pull up.
Anjaneyasana (crescent lunge): Come to downward facing dog pose. Inhale your right leg up behind, exhale brining your knee toward your nose. Step the foot in between your hands, bringing the left knee and top of the foot down to the mat (the left knee is back rather than being directly under the hip). Inhale the hands to the front knee or up above the head. Take a few breaths here. Exhale the hands down on either side of the foot, step back to downward facing dog and repeat on the left side.
Virabadrasana II (warrior II): Start in downward facing dog pose, inhale the right leg up behind, exhale stepping the right foot between the hands. Spin the back heel down, making the outer edge of the left foot parallel to the back side of the mat. Inhale, bringing the torso up and reaching the right arm forward, left arm back. Hips should be facing toward the long edge of the mat. Roll the shoulders down away from the ears and sink a bit deeper into the front knee. Keep the knee in line with the front ankle. Hold a few breaths and move on to the next pose (we'll get the second side in a bit).
Trikonasana (triangle pose): From warrior II, inhale and straighten your front knee. Reach forward with the front hand and torso. Exhale and tip the torso down as you reach the right hand to the front shin, a block, ankle or the mat. Reach the left arm up toward the sky. Hold for a few breaths and repeat warrior II and triangle pose on the left side.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (half lord of the fishes): Come to sitting on the mat, with legs extended out in front. Inhale, bending the right knee in toward the chest (you can stay here if you like). Exhale, bringing the right foot over the top of the left extended leg. Reach the right hand behind the hips, placing the palm of the hand on the mat. Inhale and reach the left arm up. As you exhale, twist the torso to the right, brining the left elbow to the outside of the right knee (alternatively, you can hug the right knee with the left elbow crease). With each exhale twist deeper, gazing to the side or out of the back shoulder. Hold a few breaths. Inhale the head back to the center, exhale while gently unwinding the torso and legs. Repeat on the left side.
Supta Baddha Konasana (supine bound angle pose): Come to laying, bring the souls of the feet together allowing the knees to drop open. Bring the heels in toward the pelvis as closely as feels comfortable bring arms by sides or resting on the belly. Keep the outer edges of the feet rooted into the ground as you raise the heads of the thigh bones up.
Savasana (corpse pose):
Finishing the practice with a reclined twist and savasana can be a great way to help reset the body. Twisting poses help to open the chest but also to stoke the digestive fire with in the torso. Getting digestion moving can also help to balance the physical body. Savasana is important to help the body relax and come to total peace.
Enjoy the practice and let me know how it goes (comment below). If you enjoy this practice please see part two by clicking here.
Disclaimer: The information on this website (Alt Yoga Vibe) is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical treatment or hands on instruction. If you are experiencing any severe pain or symptoms, please consult a healthcare practitioner.
"Yoga Sequencing" by Mark Stephens