A Simple Morning Sequence To Open Your Heart
No matter how much joy we try to find in our lives, no matter how present we are in as many moments as possible, sometimes it’s just, well, hard to get out of bed in the morning.
The next time you have that five-more-minutes mantra going through your mind, think about opening your heart. What better reason to get out of bed than to connect your feet to the earth and your heart to the sky?
Urdhva Hastasana (Standing Salute) variation
Swing your legs out of bed and plant them firmly on the floor. Take a moment to feel all four corners of your feet, then stand, inhaling and raising the arms to the sky. Place one hand on your heart and, as you exhale, twist to one side. Inhale, come back to center. Exhale, twist to the other side. Keep the belly strong, navel drawn up and in and tailbone descending. Repeat as many times as you like.
Anjaneyasana (High Lunge) variation
Return to Urdhva Hastasana, inhaling the arms up. Exhale and step the left foot back. Settle into your lunge. Inhale and lengthen the spine, drawing the navel toward the spine and allowing the spine to become long. Exhale and open the arms, twisting to the right. Hold here for a few breaths, stretching the arms out to either side. Create space. One more inhale, then exhale back to center. Inhale, stretch the arms up and exhale, stepping back into Urdhva Hastasana. Switch sides.
Utthan Pristhasana (Lizard) variation
From Urdhva Hastasana, inhale, extend; exhale, step back with the left foot, lowering the knee to the floor, coming into Lizard Pose, planting both hands inside of the right foot. Inhale here, then exhale and bend the left knee, bringing the foot in toward the hip. Reach across and above the right knee, reaching for the left foot. Then, kick the left foot away, opening through the hip, abdomen, and heart. Take a few breaths here. Inhale, then exhale back to center. Take a counter pose of your choice, or step into a forward fold, rolling up into Urdhva Hastasana and repeating on the other side.
Vasisthasana (Side Plank) variation
From Urdhva Hastasansa, step the left foot back into low lunge. Spin to the right, setting the pinkie side edges of the feet on the floor. Open through the right knee and place the right hand on the heart, encouraging it to open. Keep breathing. Keep lifting through the hips, creating a nice long line. On an exhale, spin back to the center. Switch sides.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog) variation
After repeating Vasisthasana on both sides, from the low lunge, step back into Adho Mukha Svanasana. Inhale and extend the right leg to the sky. Let the knee bend, open up the hip. Try to gaze out from under the right arm. Breathe here. Feel the expansion in the body. On an inhale, lift the foot back up toward the ceiling, exhale, place it down. Switch sides.
End your practice in the counter pose of your choice: Balasana (Child’s Pose) or Savasana (Corpse Pose). Then, go on with your day, heart open and wide awake.
Amy Jirsa, LMT, is a master herbalist, E-RYT 500 yoga teacher, forager, and writer from Maine. She is the author of Herbal Goddess: Discover the Amazing Spirit of 12 Healing Herbs with Teas, Potions, Salves, Food, Yoga, and More and the founder of Quiet Earth Yoga.