Summer Sequence for Strength & Vitality

Meridian lines are like streams that run through the body, carrying nutrients and energy to animate us / give us life. The channels connect the entire body, surface to deep, and correspond to specific organs. The heart meridian starts deep in the chest and travels the length of each arm to the pinky fingers. Fire is the element; summer the season associated with the heart meridian.

I’m fascinated by Traditional Chinese Medicine theory and enjoy weaving into both the yin and vinyasa practice. Whether you view the sensation beneath the skin as chi, prana, or blood coursing through the veins, you can't argue that yoga creates palpable energy and heightened awareness. The vinyasa sequence below is one that targets the heart meridian. It includes yin poses that correspond with the Water element; a sweet balance of yin & yang. When you practice, notice the connectedness of your chest, arms, and fingers. Center your awareness on the movement and heat created here. 

  1. Supported Fish. Place a block or blanket roll perpendicular beneath the bra strap line and one beneath the head. Lengthen your arms away from your body, palms up. Sink into the support and allow time for your body to adapt. Imagine breathing from the heart. Stay here 5 minutes.
  2. Supine Twist. Lie on your back and rock your knees to one side. Open your arms into a cactus shape and melt the opposite shoulder toward the floor.
  3. Cat/Cow + Scapulae Push-ups. Place hands below the shoulders and keep elbows straight. Drop the chest toward the floor on the inhale, push back ribs toward the ceiling on the exhale. Create the movement between the shoulder blades and try to keep the low back more neutral. 

  4. Thread the Needle. Play with rotation through the ribcage and an active reach through the hand as you move into and come out of the pose.

  5. Shalabasana (Locust Pose). Come down to your belly and set your forehead on the floor. Lift just the arms first, then the chest. Gather the shoulder blades together and actively stretch through the fingertips. Keep your neck long and your face soft. Stay 3-5 breaths. Lower and repeat. 

  6. Sun Salutation A with Chair + Cactus Arms. Just like it sounds! Go through a few rounds to build heat and to connect to your breath.

  7. First Sequence. Crescent B + cactus arms - Low Lunge Twist - Stand (still twisting) - Warrior 2 - Side Angle - Plank - Side Plank - Repeat 2nd Side

  8. Seated Wide Leg Straddle. A little pause for yin. Stay here 5 minutes. 

  9. Second Sequence. Anjaneyasana + hands interlaced behind back - Warrior 3 - Dancer's Pose - Standing Balance (knee forward) - Low Lunge Twist - Side Plank - Repeat Second Side

  10. Dolphin Pose - Pincha Mayurasna. Click here to read my post on this one.

  11. Supta Baddha Konasana. Another little seed of yin. Enjoy for 5 minutes. 

  12. Bridge or Wheel. Focus more on the opening this pose creates in the chest and less on the extension in your lower spine. 

  13. Supine Twist. Approach this twist gently. 

  14. Savasana