Yoga Sequences

Blood Moon–Inspired Heart Chakra–Opening Yoga Sequence

Use these heart-opening poses to synchonize your yoga practice with the energy of the special pink full moon and lunar eclipse.

Use these heart-opening poses to synchonize your yoga practice with the energy of the special pink full moon and lunar eclipse.

We are nothing if not elements, and it is simply science that elements are affected by the gravitational force of the moon and its phases. Any major lunar event, such as a full moon, new moon, eclipse, or solar flare can cause physiological reactions. When you begin to chart the lunar cycles and pay close attention to how these cycles affect your subtle body, you will have yet another addition to your mindful tool chest—another way to foster ultimate connection to yourself.

Special Full Moon + Total Lunar Eclipse

Saturday, April 4, 2015, brings a special full moon. This is one of four total lunar eclipses in a row, also known as a tetrad. This happens when the Earth, Sun, and Moon are essentially in one linear plane and the reflection of the light of the moon is eclipsed, or blocked. This full moon is also in the astrological sign of Libra. When the moon is in Libra, we tend to feel the desire for harmony and relationships with others improve. This moon is also a blood moon—meaning it will appearing reddish pink in the sky—making it a great opportunity to focus on the fourth (heart) chakra.

READ MORE ABOUT Chakras

Heart Chakra Sequence for the Blood Moon

Physically, the heart (anahata) chakra governs the heart, lungs, blood, and circulation. And beyond the physical, the heart chakra is associated with love, kindness, and affection. When it is open, you are compassionate and friendly, you work at harmonious relationships.

How to practice this sequence

Approach this sequence with a boundlessly open heart. Practice at dawn, when the blood moon is still visible, and visualize a sort of metaphysical bloodletting. As you breathe, as you move, as you sweat, get rid of all you are carrying that is not serving you now in this moment and from your past.

WARM UP Practice at least 3 rounds of Sun Salutation A and Sun Salutation B before beginning this sequence.

REPEAT Practice the sequence on one side, then the other, balancing the body with a vinyasa, Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) or Child’s Pose (Balasana) in between. Move from the space of an open heart rather than a bendy back and always prop and make modifications where necessary.

ALSO TRY Heart Chakra Tune-Up Practice

Anahatasana (Heart Chakra Pose)

Woman in puppy pose outside

aka Extended Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana)

After your salutations, come onto hands and knees. Keeping the gaze forward, drop the chest down as you crawl the arms forward, keeping the seat high and hips stacked over the knees. This is a DEEP heart opener and puts pressure on the upper (cervical) spine, so if you have a neck injury, place your forehead on a block and keep the neck elongated. Remain here 3 breaths. Move back into Downward-Facing Dog Pose.

ALSO TRY Sianna Sherman’s Honey-in-the-Heart Gratitude Practice

Three-Legged Downward-Facing Dog Pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana, variation

Lift one leg. Rotate the upper arms in toward the front midline of the body. Bend the lifted leg at the knee and open the hip, stacking it above the other one, looking under the arm. Remain here for 3 breaths.

See also Get Ready for Change: New Moon Solar Eclipse

Side Plank Pose, Variation

Vasisthasana, Variation

Step the lifted leg from the last pose across your mat level with your hips. Anchor your back heel in (like you would in Warrior II) and extend the top arm as you spin your heart up toward the sky. Allow the head to drop back, and place the lifted hand at the heart for the last breath. To come out of the pose, look down at the mat, place both hands under your shoulders, and take the working leg (the one you stepped across your mat) into Pigeon Pose, heel in line with hip point and working your shin towards parallel to the front of your mat.

See also Taylor Harkness’s Gratitude-Rockstar Side Plank Pose

One-Legged King Pigeon Pose, variation

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, variation

Walk fingertips forward to elongate the spine with a gentle curve upward. Keep the back toes tucked under and the back leg engaged, hugging the body up and into the midline as if you were going to pull yourself up and away from the floor. Remain here for 5 breaths.

See also 3 Ways to Make Pigeon Pose Feel Better

One-Legged King Pigeon Pose

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

Release the back knee down to the ground and keep the back foot actively flexed. Maintaining the gentle upward arc in the spine and hugging the legs in toward the midline, reach back with both arms like great, powerful wings. Bending the back leg in, take both hands to the shin or ankle (or use a strap) and allow the leg to gently pull away from the body, opening up broad across the chest. Remain here for 3 breaths. Release the pose and make your way into Downward-Facing Dog Pose.

See also Yogapedia Challenge Pose: Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)

Seated Forward Bend

Paschimottanasana

In any backbending series, it is essential to create balance in the body and stability in the spine by folding forward. I like to incorporate folds all the way through a backbending sequence, not just at the end. Come to seated with both legs extended forward. Keep the heels planted but the toes flexed back and just a bit of slack behind the knees. On an inhale, take the arms up and hinge forward from the hips, tilting until you meet your edge of resistance. At that point, lower your arms and simply melt abdomen, chest, then head. If your head is far from your shins, place a block under your forehead. Remain here for 8 breaths. Melt.

See also Build Balance in Revolved Half Moon Pose

Camel Pose

Ustrasana, variation

Come onto your knees, hands on hips, knees hip-width apart. Internally rotate your legs (in other words, don’t squeeze your glutes). Like in One-Legged King Pigeon Pose, reach the arms way back, then drawing the tailbone down—not under—lean back until hands find you heels. Press down into the heels and lift up through the heart. If it’s comfortable and safe for you, allow the head to relax back. Remain here for 3 breaths. Come up slowly, abdomen, then chest, then head, and sit straight down on your heels. Close your eyes and remain here for 3 breaths. Place your hands on the floor in front of you and make your way into Downward-Facing Dog Pose. The inversion here after the intensity of the backbend will really jumpstart your lymphatic flow. Plus, you will get extra benefit of the greater gravitational force present during this full moon cycle.

See also Yogapedia: 7 Steps to Master Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Bridge Pose

Setu Bhanda Sarvangasana

From Downward-Facing Dog Pose, step or hop through to sitting then roll down on to your back. Place your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart and parallel. Lift your hips halfway up, then snuggle the shoulders underneath you and interlace your fingers. Lift the hips fully and feel the chest expanding up toward the chin. Press the forearms deeply down into the mat and release the glutes. Remain here for 5 breaths.

ALSO WATCH Shiva Rea’s Moon Salutation

Upward Bow Pose

Urdvha Dhanurasana

From Bridge Pose, release your interlaced hands and place them by the shoulders. Press up to the crown of the head with the elbows drawing in. With equal effort in hands and feet, expand the heart space, and straighten the arms. See your body as the complete circle of the full moon, shining full of the bright growth and life you planted at the new moon. Lead from the heart, imagine the blood, the life force in your veins, like a river that is rushing through the cosmos and you and back again. Remain here for up to 5 glorious breaths. Release gently and draw your knees into your chest. Take a few moments to feel the emotional release of that pose. Let it wash over you. When you are ready, rock up to sitting and gently fold forward. Step back into Downward-Facing Dog Pose and repeat the sequence on the other side!

ROUND 2 When you do the sequence the second time, stay mindfully connected to the heart opening in the postures. Breathe into your entire body and with each inhale, like the incoming tide, draw in what you need and desire. With each exhale, release what is no longer serving you. The moon guides the tides. Synchronize your breath and your intention with this powerful lunar event and experience the mystery that is within and within all.

See also Soothing Moon Shine: Chandra Namaskar

About Tiffany Maloney

Tiffany Maloney is a yoga teacher, studio owner, freelance writer and practitioner of magick and esoteric arts. Drawing on the traditions of classical mythology, European witchcraft, pagan traditions and Native American practices, Tiffany weaves her own modern ritualism into her everyday life as a stay at home gypsy-priestess mom to her 3 awesome dogs and 5 pesky cats. Find more at www.tiffanymaloneyyoga.com