Sunday, 16 April 2017

Springtime yoga

Easter to me marks the beginning of spring when we can begin planting for summer beauty and abundance.  It is a time of gratitude for the signs of new life and lighter days. I delight in seeing the birds collecting nesting material knowing that it won't be too long before there are baby birds in the garden demanding food from their exhausted parents. It is a time of optimism and hope for sunnier days. Even the smells of spring can lift our mood.  The sequence below helps us open up to the joys of the springtime season.  You may need a block.

Start with a few rounds of Sun Salutation in honour of the return of the sun after the winter. Please see 'Yoga Pose Gallery'. After a few rounds of Sun Salutation A and Sun Salutation B take a Child's pose to allow your breath and heart rate to return to normal.  When you are ready come to all fours.  

Cat/Cow - with your hands under your shoulders, knees under hips, breathe in lift your head and chest, breathe out tuck your chin and arch your back.  Continue working with your breath. 
Thread the Needle - come back to all fours, breathe in and stretch your right arm up, breathe out as you bend your left elbow, post your right arm under your left and take your head and shoulders to a block or to the mat.  Press into your left hand to deepen the twist.  Stay for several breaths then when you are ready to come out press into your left hand and return to all fours.  Repeat second side.

Swan - come to the back of the mat, big toes touching, knees wide.  Walk your hands forward and bring your forehead to the mat or to a block.  When you are ready come back to all fours.  

Downward Facing Dog to Wild Thing - from all fours, breathe in, tuck your toes, breathe out and lift your hips high.  Breathe in and stretch your right leg back, breathe out and drop your right heel to your left buttock as you open to the right.  Either stay here or slightly bend your left knee and 'flip the dog' bringing your right foot down onto the mat and lifting your right arm and chest towards the ceiling.  Enjoy this exhilarating stretch then when you are ready 'flip the dog' back.  Take a Child's pose then repeat second side and take another Child's pose. When you are ready make your way to standing.   

Warrior 2 - stand in the middle of your mat with your hands on your hips and take your feet as wide as is comfortable.  Turn your right leg to the right and the toes of the left foot in 45 degrees, lining up the heel of the front foot with the instep of the back foot (men) or heel with heel (women).  As much as possible have the hips level with the front of the mat but do not force the back hip point back because this will strain the SI joint. Inhale, stretch your arms out at shoulder height, lift your chest, exhale bend your right knee, turn to look down the fingers of your right hand, looking forward to the joys of the season.  To come out of the pose, inhale straighten the right knee, exhale hands to heart, turn your feet to face forward.  Repeat second side. 

Camel pose variation -  come to kneeling, folding your mat over to pad your knees if your knees are delicate.  Bring your right foot forward, inhale and raise your right arm as you curl back and reach back for your left heel.  To modify tuck your left toes to raise your heel or take your left hand to a block.  Open your heart space to the blessings of the springtime. To come out of the pose, tuck your chin towards your chest and uncurl.  Lower your right arm.  Repeat second side then take a Child's Pose.

Happy Baby - come to lying on your back.  Bring your knees towards your chest and take hold of the outside of your feet, ankles or shins.  Rock from side to side.  To modify place a bolster under your hips before doing the pose or practice one leg at a time for Half Happy Baby. Be as happy as a baby experiencing life for the first time.

Spend a few minutes in savasana to finish.


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