Life on Purpose, Intermediate Anahata Yoga Sequence
"You can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance at doing what you love."
- Jim Carrey
This message has been an ongoing theme in my life. Even though the heart sits left of center, it feels as though it is at the very center of our being. We become aware of it in times of excitement, fear or stress. How often do we disregard its message when we are doing something we aren't passionate about, but we do it anyway?
The Latin word for heart is "cor". From the root, "cor", we find the words core and courage.
In yogic traditions, the heart is represented by Anahata Chakra. Anahata means "unstruck". It is associated with the air element, touch and the actions of the hands. For many of us, our hands are necessary to carry out the task of what we do for a living.
Anahata is associated with the ability to make decisions outside the realm of karma. We learn to follow decisions from the heart, based on the higher self. "From a deep internal listening we learn to anticipate what we need, when or even just before we need it."
Space is the container for everything. Finding the space within that is untouched by the external world, past karma and fear, in order to carry out the work you are most passionate about. What does the world need that your talents can provide? Through yoga, we connect to the core of our being, in order to find the courage necessary to carry out our highest purpose in this life.
Anahata Yoga Sequence: Peak pose: Fallen Star Pose
- Lotus mudra at the heart.
- Connect students to the union of manipura chakra, using that place of courage from within to live a life on purpose. Follow the connection of manipura chakra to anahata chakra, following their awareness to the space within lotus mudra at the heart. Guide students to move from the lower chakras, bound by karma and fate, to the higher chakras, by taking the breath through shushmna nadi.
Hands together at the heart, keep the pinky, thumb and heels of the hands touching. Keep thumbs resting on the sternum. Separate the index, middle and ring fingers. Symbolizes the lotus flowering open from the mud. The mud representing the lower chakras, and a flowering open of the heart.
- Begin warming up the spine with seated spinal twists.
- Take fingertips behind the hips, draw shoulders together on the back and imagine a string lifting from the collarbones as you breathe into that space for a gentle backbend.
- Boat Pose Prep, fingertips still planted behind the hips, lift the soles of the feet off the floor to face the front of the room. Still lifting from the space at the collarbones, exhale and shift weight onto the right hip until the left hip lifts off the floor, both knees move to the right as you look over the left shoulder. Inhale center, exhale to other side. Vinyasa between "one hip twists".
|One hip Twist|
- Boat Pose
- Plank Pose -> Down Dog, Vinyasa between both 3x
- Plank Pose, rock both heels all the way to the left on the exhale, inhale center, exhale right. Vinyasa 3x each side
- Plank Pose -> Cobra, have students tent fingers off the mat in line with shoulders. Begin with peeling the sternum off the mat, gaze is last to lift. Lead with the sternum to come down, forehead comes down last. (teaches students to lead with heart, not to take everything on the chin)
- Surya Namaskar (traditional) one round each side. Ending with lotus mudra at heart.
- Down dog, keep hips lifted!, inhale onto balls of feet, exhale both heels to left all the way to the floor, inhale center, exhale into DD, inhale onto balls of feet, exhale both heels to the right. Vinyasa 3x both sides in "twisted dog".
- DD -> 3 leg DD -> Knee to opposite shoulder -> Knee to shoulder -> Knee to chest and step into Lunge -> High Lunge -> Wide leg forward fold -> Revolved Wide Leg Forward Fold -> Back to High Lunge -> Revolved Lunge -> Standing Split -> Warrior 3 -> Mountain Pose
- ***Repeat this sequence on the opposite side***
- Forearm Plank -> Dolphin -> Sphinx -> Locust Pose
- DD -> 3 leg DD -> DD with hip opener -> Knee to shoulder sequence -> High Lunge-> Warrior 2 -> Revolved Triangle -> Intense Side Stretch -> Warrior 3 prep, knee to chest, interlace fingers around knee and come to Standing Wind Reliever -> Revolved hand to Big Toe Pose -> Mountain Pose
- ***Repeat this sequence on opposite side***
- DD -> Supported Side Plank -> 3 leg DD -> Knee to Opposite Shoulder then extend tucked leg into Fallen Star Pose!!! Shoot extended leg further to side and extend top arm into opposite direction for more of a backbend.
|Fallen Star Pose|
- ***Repeat this sequence opposite side***
- Melting Heart Pose (Anahatasana)
- Thread the Needle
- Supine Twist
- Half Shoulder Stand -> Plow
I didn't write out every yoga mudra or transition in this sequence. Use your judgement. I offered times of heart opening in mountain pose, wide arm circles in lunge, etc. This is just an outline. Feel free to modify it. The intensity depends on who you are teaching to that day. This is a heating sequence and coming into a standing balance from Warrior 3 proved to be a challenge to students.
I always sequence with a theme or peak pose in mind. It helps the students I teach to stay focused in their practice. Any time there is a pause in the sequence I will incorporate the dharma or theme of the class.
Have fun with the journey,