#minisequence – heart salutations
Let’s tackle some heart salutations! The beginning of a flow class typically starts with some kind of comfortable seated position. We are asked to tune into the breathe and focus our awareness. From here, the teacher will guide us into some gentle warming postures.
From my experience, almost every class uses cat/cow tilts on the hands and knees to begin to wake up the back body and the heart and chest. This combination of movement softly stimulates the abdominal organs and starts to connect your movement to your breath. The mind begins to calm down and balance and awareness are enhanced.
Everything sounds great, and is! However, if you are a teacher or regular practitioner and are craving some variety in your warm up, heart salutations could be your next cat/cow.
This variation of heart salutation is designed to give a similar warming of the back, chest, neck, and shoulders. The movement is centered more around the heart and the shoulders as opposed to the hips and the back body. If you are someone who struggles with tight shoulders and upper back, give this a try next time you hit the mat!
- Begin in a comfortable seat, sitting on the heels or up on a block. Find a seat where you can comfortably maintain a long spine and relaxed lower body
- Draw the hands to hear center in take a few rounds of breathe here
- On an inhale, interlace the fingers and fill the lungs to maximum capacity
- As you exhale, press the palms forward towards the front of the room and extend the arms out long. As you do so, begin to round out the upper back, hollowing out the chest in a similar fashion as cat pose. Draw the gaze towards the navel
- On the next inhale, extend the arms overhead, reaching the palms towards the sky. Lengthening up through the spine, fill the lungs, while keeping the shoulders depressed away from the ears
- As you exhale release the grip and interlace the fingers behind the back near the sacrum.
- Inhale and squeeze the palms and wrists in towards one another as you feel the shoulder blades move together down the back. Open the chest and the heart to the sky, lift the gaze.
- Exhale, release the grasp and join the hands back together at the heart
- Inhaling and interlace the fingers, and repeat 5-10 times
Enjoy this #minisequence on its own for a more radiant heart, or add in to your practice at any point your anahata chakra needs some love!