February is all about opening up the HEART! So, try incorporating our favorite heart opening stretches and backbends into your practice this month.
These six postures will open up your shoulders and your entire front body. In fact, they will leave you feeling stretched, energized and ready to tackle your day!
Ready to get started? Grab a few blocks and a strap. As always, be mindful of your body, modify when necessary and remember to breathe. Try to hold each of these postures for at least 5-10 breaths.
Reclined Heart Opener with Blocks
Lie onto your mat with one block (at its lowest height) under your head like a pillow and a second block (at a higher height) between your shoulder blades. Relax your arms alongside your body and stay on the blocks for at least one minute.
Hero Pose with Gomukhasana Arms
Start out on your shins, bringing your knees together and separating your feet slightly wider than your hips. From there, have a seat in between your ankles coming into Hero Pose. Feel free to prop yourself on a block if this pose hurts your knees. Sitting up tall, slowly make your way into Gomukhasana arms. Use a strap if you cannot clasp your hands. Relax your shoulders and pull the elbows back. Stay here and hold for 5-10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Wide Cobra Pose
Lie on your belly and bring your feet hips’ width distance apart. Take your hands wide off of your mat and come onto your fingertips. On an inhale, slowly push into your fingertips lifting your heart high. Keep your elbows slightly bent and actively roll your shoulders back.
Lie on your belly and relax your forehead on your mat. Bend your knees and grab onto the outside edges of your feet. On an inhale, kick your feet into your hands lifting your heart high. Use the strength of your legs to lift you up! Stay here and hold for 5-10 breaths, then repeat two more times.
It’s time to start working on some deeper backbends. Feel free to take a traditional Camel pose or if you’re feeling adventurous, try our funky variations above! Start out on your shins, knees are hips’ width distance apart. From there, step your right foot forward planting the sole of your foot down on your mat. Bring both hands onto your hips squaring them off to the top of your mat. Slowly sweep the left hand up and around bringing your left hand onto your left ankle or sole of your left foot behind you. Take a moment and square your hips once again. Extend your right arm up or bring it to heart center. Take 5 deep breaths, then slowly come up. Repeat on the other side.
Make your way onto your back and set up for Wheel. Feet should be hips’ width distance apart and parallel to one another. Hands should be shoulder width apart, fingers spread wide. Both arms and legs squeeze in towards one another. Feel free to bring one hand up to heart center as you hold for 5-10 deep breaths.