Thursday, 21 April 2016

6 Energizing yoga poses for Spring

I may have said this before - I love Spring!! Everything is bursting into life, the birds are nesting and there is some warmth in the sun.  

In Ayurveda, kapha dosha dominates in Spring.  This means that, even at this uplifting time of year we may feel sluggish and prone to sniffles, sinus problems and allergies.  The following poses will balance kapha dosha enabling you to really enjoy this wonderful time of year.  

Start with a few rounds of Sun Salutations then allow your breath to return to normal in Child's Pose

Bow Pose (an invigorating back bend which deepens the breath relieving fatigue and stimulates digestion and elimination) - from Child's Pose come to lying on your tummy. Bring your forehead to the mat and bend your knees as you reach back with your hands for your ankles.  If you cannot reach, take a belt around your ankles.  Your knees should be hip width apart.  Inhale press your feet up and back, lifting your chest and head up off the mat. Hold for a couple of breaths then breathe out to release. To modify practice with one leg at a time (Half Bow).  Repeat second side then take a Child's Pose.

Half Moon Pose (an energizing assymmetric back bend that encourages deeper breathing helping with upper respiratory tract infections and relieving fatigue) - from Child's Pose extend your arms forward, breathe in and come to all 4s.  Tuck your toes under, breathe out and lift your hips into a Downward Facing Dog.  Inhale look forward and step your right foot forward between your hands.  Breathe out and drop the back knee.  Inhale, bring your hands to to front knee.  Roll your shoulders back and down and on your next inhale take your arms up as you curl back, lifting your chest.  To come out of the pose, breathe out, take your hands to the mat and step back to Downward Facing Dog.  Repeat second side then from Downward Facing Dog walk your feet forward.  When your shoulders come over your hands, take hold of your elbows and slowly roll up to standing.

Crescent Moon Pose (a side body stretch that opens the chest and increases circulation) - From standing with your feet hip distance, inhale, stretch your arms out and up and take hold of your right wrist with your left hand. Breathe out and lean to the left, opening the right side of the body. Press your hips to right. Breathe in come back to centre, breathe out and taking hold of the left wrist with the right hand, lean to the left.  Inhale back to centre and repeat once more on each side.

Triangle Pose (an intense stretch to the sides of your body, opening up the chest) - starting in the middle of your mat, step your feet a leg length apart, turn the right leg out and the left foot in 45 degrees.  Ladies should align their heel, men should align front heel to back instep. Breathe in and lift your arms to shoulder height. Breathe out and shift your hips to the left and you extend over your right leg, bringing your hand to rest on your ankle, shin or thigh.  If you are very flexible you can bring your hand down to the floor behind the right foot.  Your gaze can be up at your right thumb if your neck allows, or down at your right big toe. If you have neck issues, you may also want to place your top hand on your hips. To come out of the pose, breathe in and windmill your arms up, breathe out turn your feet to face forward and your hands to heart centre. Repeat second side.

Wide Leg Standing Forward Bend with twist (boosts circulation, improves digestion and elimination and revitalises abdominal organs)- take your feet wide and have the outside edges of the feet parallel to the short edges of the mat.  Take your hands to your hips.  On a breath out, hinging from the groin, fold forward into a flat-back position and release your hands to a block or the mat.  Breathe in and as you breathe out take the right arm up and look up at the right hand.  Breathe in as you bring the arm down, come back to centre, and repeat second side. Continue working with your breath.  To come out, breathe out, take your hands to your hips, breathe in come up slowly.

Supported Supta Baddha Konasana (opens up your chest, helping to relieve sinus problems and relaxes your nervous system) - Lie back over your bolster or rolled up blanket and bring your heels close into your buttocks. Bring the soles of your feet together, releasing your knees down towards the mat. To protect your SI joints, place a cushion under each thigh. 
Your arms should be at a 45 degree angle with palm facing up.  Stay here breathing into your abdomen for up to 3 minutes.  To come out of the pose, take your hands to the outside edges of your thighs and draw the knees together. Roll to your right and come up slowly.  

Janet x

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