Sunday, 16 October 2016

Autumn sequence to balance lung and large intestine meridians

The lung and large intestine meridians are both associated with the metal element which in turn is associated with sadness.  Many people do indeed become sad at this time of year but balancing the lung and liver meridians will help support us through this time by helping us let go of the summer so we can enjoy the autumn.  

If the  lung and large intestine meridians are out of balance our immune system may become compromised and we are more likely to catch colds and flu and suffer autumn allergies. The large intestine works with the sinuses and throat as well as the bowels which can be troublesome for some people in autumn. Out of balance the large intestine will try to rid the body of the sadness and as a result bowel movements may become irregular.

The following yoga sequence will help balance the lung and large intestine meridians.

Three part breath - lie down on the mat with your hands on your tummy, middle fingers touching, your elbows rested on the mat.  When your breathe becomes slow and deep, direct your breath to the area under your hands without straining.  Continue for a few breaths then move your hands up to your ribcage so that the middle fingers touch where your ribs form a V.  Breathe into the area under the hands.  Continue for a few breaths then move your hands up so that your fingers are on your collar bones and your hands rest on your upper chest. Breathe into your ribcage once more and if you can without strain breathe a little more deeply so that you feel some movement in the upper chest, the area under the hands.  Continue for a few breaths.  Finally place one hand on your abdomen, one hand on your ribcage and breathe into all three areas of the lungs so that as you breathe in your abdomen rises, your ribs move up and out and your chest expands then as you breathe out, your abdomen releases back to your spine, your ribs move in and down and your chest releases.

Apanasana - draw the right leg tight into your chest holding behiind the thigh if you have knee issues or otherwise the shin. Hold for a few breaths then  breathe in to release and repeat with the left leg.

Flip the Cat  come onto all fours and take the right leg out to the right.  Extend the left leg and take the left arm up and. over.  'Flip' back to all fours.  Repeat second side.

Puppy - from all fours walk your hands forward, keeping your hips high, your elbows lifted and bring your forehead to the mat.  Take your hands wide if your shoulders are uncomfortable or bend your elbows to interlace your fingers behind your head.  To come out of the pose walk your hands back or if your hands are behind your head bring your hands to the mat and press up. 

Cow Face arms - sit back on your heels or if this is not comfortable for you sit on a block with your legs crossed. You can also come to standing. Place a yoga strap or dressing gown tie over your right shoulder. Inhale stretch your right arm up, exhale take your right arm down your back.  Inhale stretch your left arm forward, exhale externally rotate your left arm up your back to meet the right hand  in a yogic grip, fingers curled around one another or if your hands do not meet hold onto the strap.  Hold for a few breaths then release and roll your shoulders up by your ears and back a few times.  Repeat second side. 

Camel variation - come onto your knees folding your mat over if you need padding for your knees.  Bring your right foot forward and take your left hand to the back of your left thigh.  Breathe in and raise your right arm, breathe out as you slide your left leg down your left thigh as far as feels comfortable for you.  Breathe in to come back up, breathe out lower your right arm.  Repeat second side.  Take a Child's Pose then make your way to standing.

Triangle variation - take your feet a leg length apart. Turn the whole of the right leg to the right so that the knee and foot point the same way and turn the toes of the back foot in 45 degrees.  The heel of your front foot should line up with the instep of your back foot for men or line up heel to heel for ladies.  Inhale raise your arms to  shoulder height, lift your chest. Breathe out and bring your right hand to your right leg, left arm up towards the ceiling. Gaze can be straight ahead or up at the left thumb, depending on your neck. Take your left arm behind your back, holding onto the right thigh if you can.  To come out of the pose, breathe in windmill your arms up, breathe our turn your feet to face forward, hands to heart. Repeat 2nd side.

Intense side stretch with Reverse Namaste - step to the top of your mat and have your feet at hip distance. Take your left leg back and turn your left toes out.  Bring your palms together behind your back then turn your hands up for reverse prayer.  If this is not available to you hold your elbows behind your back. Level your hips to the front of your mat. Inhale lift your chest, exhale fold to flat back, lengthen forward.  Stay here if you have blood pressure issues or if not, inhale here then breathe out to bring your chest towards your thigh.  Hold for a few breaths then inhale to come up.

Reverse Namaste

Dancer - stand with the feet slightly apart and find a gaze point,a drishti.  Take your weight into your right foot and raise your right arm. Bend your left knee and take hold of the outside of your left foot or your left ankle.  Use a belt looped around your foot if you cannot reach. This may be your pose, or if you can, press your raised foot up and back as you hinge forward from the groin. Inhale to come back to an upright position, exhale as you take your foot back down to the mat, lower your arm. To modify, practice with a wall, bringing your raised hand to the wall as you hinge forward. Repeat second side.

Seated twist - sit with the legs outstretched on a block or a blanket. Bend the right knee  and draw the leg close into the chest. Take the right foot to the outside of the left thigh. If you can keep the right sit bone and right foot grounded bring the left foot to the right hip, otherwise keep the left leg extended.  Take your right hand to the mat behind your right hip or to the block on which you are seated. Breathe in and lengthen your spine. Breathe out and wrap your left arm around your right leg.  Work with the breath to deepen the twist.  Inhale, lengthen through the crown of your head, exhale start to twist from the abdomen, then the ribcage, then the shoulders, keeping the chin in line with the breast bone.  As you hold the twist, work with your breath.  With each inhale lengthen, with each exhale, you may have room to twist a little more.  If you have a good twist through the spine, slowly turn your head to look over the right shoulder. Come out of the pose in the same way as you went into it. Inhale lengthen, exhale release the neck, the shoulder, the ribcage and finally the abdomen. Repeat second side.  

You might also like 'Ayurveda and autumn'- which makes recommendations for your diet in autumn as well as your yoga practice.  


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