Grab a partner and celebrate American Heart Month with this chest-opening sequence from Two Fit Moms.
February is American Heart Month, a time when we not only celebrate Valentine’s Day but also pay a little more attention to keeping our tickers healthy and strong. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends incorporating family and friends into physical activity as a way to get heart healthy this month, so we at Two Fit Moms have done just that in the following heart-opening sequence. Feel the love!
NOTE These poses require blocks, a strap, and a partner.
Also see Two Fit Moms’ Backbending Practice
Reclining Heart Opener with Blocks
Lie down on 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.
Heart-Opening Hero Pose
Virasana with Gomukhasana Arms
Come into Hero Pose, propping yourself on a block if you need to. Sit up tall, slowly bring your arms into Gomukhasana. 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.
Explore more chest openers
Wide Cobra Pose
Lie down on your belly and bring your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands wide, off of your mat, and come onto your fingertips. On an inhalation, slowly push into your fingertips, lifting your heart high. Keep your elbows slightly bent and actively roll your shoulders back.
See also Two Fit Moms’ Good Morning Flow
Lying on your belly, relax your forehead on your mat. Bend your knees and grab the outside edges of your feet. On an inhalation, kick your feet into your hands, lifting your heart high. Use the strength of your legs to lift up. Stay here and hold for 5–10 breaths, then repeat two more times.
See also Improve Posture with Bow Pose
Standing Backbend with a Partner
Stand face-to-face with your partner and grab each other’s forearms near the elbows. On a long exhale, slowly start to lift the heart as you lean back and straighten your arms. Drop your head back and hold for 5–10 breaths.
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! Keep your hips square and moving forward as you reach your heart to the sky. Engage your abdominals to protect your lower back. Relax into the posture and always remember to breathe. Hold the pose for 5–10 breaths.
See also 6 Instagram-Inspired Pose Variations
Make your way onto your back and set up for Wheel Pose. Feet should be hip-width apart and parallel to each other. Hands should be shoulder-width apart, fingers spread wide. Both arms and legs squeeze in toward one another. Feel free to bring one hand up to your heart center as you hold for 5–10 deep breaths.
Partner Forward Bend
Time to counteract all of those yummy backbends with a Seated Forward Bend—partner-style! Slowly come into your Seated Forward Bend, lengthening your spine and flexing your feet. Have your partner gently lie down on your back and maybe even grab your flexed feet to help deepen the stretch. Stay here and breathe for about a minute, then switch places.
Not into partner yoga? Also see Please, Please, Please No Partnering