Thursday, 15 October 2015

Mindful yoga transitions

I love the transitional seasons, spring and autumn. In the northern hemisphere we have just entered into autumn, a time when the earth seems to be drawing in, letting go of the summer and her bounty and giving up the fruits of autumn. The nights are drawing in, some animals are preparing to hibernate while others sleep longer to conserve energy. It is the cycle of life and all of nature seems to instinctively know its role.  Each day, I see the changes: the fungi sprouting to help the process of decaying the fallen leaves, the berries ripening to feed the birds, the leaves on the trees changing colour before they fall. Mother Nature is in control.

In our yoga transitions, we must be in control the movement and not rely on momentum to transition from one pose to another as this is more likely to result in injury. To be mindfully in control requires strength, both mental and physical.

Try practicing these yoga transitions mindfully.

Warrior 1 to Warrior 3 - from Downward Facing Dog, inhale step the right foot forward, exhale drop the back heel, turning the left toes to the left.  Inhale come up, raising your arms over your head.  To transition to Warrior 3, lower your arms to shoulder height and start to take your weight forward onto your front leg.  Find a gaze point. Slowly lift your left leg. Repeat second side.

Side Angle to Half Moon Balance -start in Tadasana, bring your hands to your hips and step your feet wide. Exhale, bend your right knee, inhale, bring the right elbow to right thigh, exhale circle the left arm down and up by the left ear.  To transition to Half Moon Balance, bring your left hand onto your left hip and take your right hand to the mat or to a block (remember a block has 3 levels).  The block or your hand should be positioned 6-12 inches forward of your right little toe and slightly back.  Start to transfer your weight onto your right foot and slowly start to lift your left leg.  Breathe in and raise your left arm.  Your gaze can be straight ahead or up at the left hand.  
To come out of the pose, transition back to Side Angle Pose - lower the left hand to the left hip and drop the back leg to the mat.  Bring the right elbow to the right thigh and circle the left arm by the left ear.  To return to Tadasna, breathe in and windmill the arms to shoulder height, breathe out, straighten the front knee, turn your feet to face forward, and bring your hands to heart.  Step your feet together  and  bring your hands to your heart.  Repeat second side.

Tree Pose to Dancer - start in Tadasana. Separate your feet a little and take your weight into your left foot.  Find a drishti, a gaze point straight ahead. Slowly peel your right foot away from the mat and take it to the right ankle, right shin or reach down and bring your right foot to your left thigh.  Bring your hands to your heart. To transition to Dancer lower your right hand as you take your right foot aback. Take hold of the right foot with the right hand and press the right foot up and back as you hinge forward. 
To return to Tree, inhale come to an upright position, return your right foot to your left leg and bring your hands to your heart.  To return to Tadanasa, release your right foot back to the mat, lower your arms.

Happy autumn!

Janet x

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