On weekends I share a yoga pose related to the monthly theme. Keeping with the July theme of gratitude, this pose focuses on heart opening.
Humble Warrior (Baddha Virabhadrasana) stretches the chest, lungs and shoulders while strengthening the core and lower body. This pose can be very grounding if you focus awareness on the firm foundation of both feet planted on your yoga mat.
Start standing in Mountain Pose and step one foot back about 3 feet (1 meter). Turn the back foot to approximately a 45 degree angle keeping the hips square to the front of the mat. Bend your front knee and stack it directly above the ankle. Keep your back leg straight and both heels on the ground.
Interlace your hands behind the small of your back and roll your shoulder blades together. Simultaneously lift your collarbone and heart center towards the ceiling as you look up. On an exhale, keep your core engaged as you hinge at your hips lifting your arms up towards the ceiling and leaning forward.
Keep both arms active and engaged. You can unclasp the hands if it causes pain or discomfort, but the arms should continue to reach up and back. Continue to roll the shoulder blades together and stretch through the heart center. Keep both feet firmly planted on the yoga mat. Breathe in and out of the nose. Hold for 5-10 breaths and repeat on the opposite side.