Valentine's Day is the perfect opportunity to focus on practicing self-love and spreading those good vibes to everyone you know. Rolling out your mat on V-Day and including some rejuvenating, heart-opening asanas into your yoga flow is an amazing way to nurture your body and mind in the most adoring and gently expansive way possible. With Feb. 14 quickly creeping up on us, having a
Valentine's Day yoga sequence handy to take advantage of all of the loving energy in the air will open up your heart chakra and allow you to shower yourself with compassion from head to toe.
The heart chakra (or the anahata chakra)
lies in the center of your chest and is partially responsible for cultivating deeply loving emotions toward yourself and others. However, it often becomes blocked when you're faced with heartbreak and other difficult situations that life inevitably presents you with.
A fluid, powerful, relaxing, nourishing yoga practice focused on the anahata chakra is an amazing way to emotionally open yourself up so you can show unconditional love and affection toward your incredible body and mind this Valentine's Day. Try flowing through this sweetly smooth yoga sequence to open your heart up to love — whether it be for yourself or for someone else — come Feb. 14.
Seated Shoulder Stretch
Start your practice in a comfortable, cross-legged seat, and prepare for a gentle shoulder stretch to warm up your chest for a deeply heart-centered flow.
Raise one arm and try to clasp it with your opposite hand behind your back. If you can't quite get your fingers to touch, feel free to use a strap or even a towel or shirt to make the pose more accessible.
Make your way onto your hands and knees in a tabletop position, with your knees hip-width distance apart and your fingers spread out nice and wide.
Begin flowing through a gentle cat-cow sequence, linking each new movement with your deep inhales and exhales.
After a few rounds of cat-cow, make your way into your first downward facing dog.
Pedal out your feet so that you can stretch your legs and release your hamstrings early on in the practice, and gaze toward your belly button while you aim to get the heels of your feet as close as you can to the mat.
Slowly tip-toe your feet forward to the front of the mat, and allow your entire body to release and rag-doll down in a standing forward bend.
You can keep a slight bend in your knees here if your hamstrings are on the tighter side. Rest your upper body on your thighs, and release any tension you're holding in your shoulders or neck.
Mountain Pose With A Backbend
Vertebrae by vertebrae, rise up from your forward fold into a grounded and stable mountain pose.
Allow this asana to be more expressive and fluid than your typical mountain pose by adding a baby backbend into the pose. Only go as far as your body allows, but let your chest be unrestricted and vastly open.
Begin warming up your body by flowing through a few rounds of sun salutations. Each time you get to your cobra pose, pause in this asana and allow your heart to stay completely open.
Close your eyes, and savor all of the in-betweens, coating each breath you take with love and compassion.
After your sun salutations, settle into a powerful and strong warrior II, cultivating affection for your fierce inner goddess and letting energy emanate through your outstretched fingertips.
Maintain deep, even breathing as you sink a bit deeper into the pose.
Gracefully reverse your warrior, and feel every ounce of space that you create within your side body as you reach toward the back of your mat.
Keep a deep bend in your front knee, and consider closing your eyes to feel every single sensation that this pose introduces to your body.
As you come out of your peaceful warrior, pivot to the ball of your back foot, and transfer your weight into a powerful high lunge.
If your chest is beginning to feel more relaxed and open, try adding a little backbend into this pose. Stay in tune with your body as you experiment with heart-opening variations for each asana.
Low Lunge With Backbend
With control, bring your back knee down to the mat, and shift your body into a rejuvenating low lunge. Really focus on deep inhales and long exhales as you feel your hips sinking lower to the mat with each breath.
Direct your attention to your upper back and chest as you play with adding an expansive backbend into this heart chakra-centered pose.
Make sure you repeat your movements between warrior II and low lunge on the opposite side of your body, balancing out the sequence and taking your time in each asana.
Take a vinyasa, and settle in a downward facing dog. From your down dog, lift one leg and swing it forward into pigeon pose.
Fold over your leg and allow yourself to close your eyes and breathe deeply through this hip-opening asana.
After you've rested in pigeon pose for about 10 deep breaths, make your way out of the forward fold, and experiment with adding a backbend to the posture with either
a mermaid variation or king pigeon.
These asanas are a bit more advanced, so if you can't get into them right away, don't be discouraged! Have fun with it, and practice self-compassion throughout it all.
Repeat sleeping pigeon and your pigeon variation on the opposite side of your body, and then come to a position where you're sitting on your knees in preparation for camel pose.
This will be the peak of your heart-opening practice, and your body should now be warmed up from all the work you did to create nice, open chest and hip space. Let your heart lead you, and allow any internal chatter in your brain to simmer down as you sink into this beautiful camel pose.
Slowly make your way onto your back as you begin to wind down from your invigorating flow.
Hug your knees into your chest for a counter-stretch to all the back-bending you did. Thank your body for its hard work and all of its abilities.
Release your legs and drop them over to one side of your body as you gaze over your opposite shoulder and close your eyes. Let your breathing come to a natural, free-flowing rhythm.
Be sure to repeat your spinal twist on the opposite side of your body for equilibrium.
Before your final meditation, rock from side to side on your back, giving your spine and sacrum a luxurious massage in happy baby pose.
Savor these final moments of playfulness and freedom within your practice before allowing your entire body to rest in complete stillness.
Close your eyes and sink into a restorative and incredibly relaxing corpse pose.
Scan your body, and release any additional tension you may be holding in any area. Bask in all the love and affection you just created on your mat, and think about how you'll continue to carry this love after your practice.
Remember, you don't have to reserve this practice just for Valentine's Day. Flow through these heart-opening poses whenever you need some extra self-love and compassion, and enjoy, my friend.