Hi Lindsay's friends! My name is Gaby and I blog over at This Little Port. I'm a Sydney based yoga teacher, yoga practitioner, crafter, baker, and blogger. Today I'm here to share with you some yoga inspiration for spring.
So... when you think of spring your mind probably jumps straight to spring cleaning. It's usually a time of year when we feel energized and excited to take on new projects and get organized. And while the world around you is going through a transformation, it's a good time to acknowledge that your physical body is also going through a time of transition.
Here, I'll share with you some poses that aim specifically to detoxify the body, but also the mind and spirit. I would recommend doing some kind of a warm up beforehand. This is a great youtube video that will guide through a sequence of 10 warm-up poses, called 'the magic 10' in Jivamukti Yoga (Posted at the bottom) After that, if you're familiar with sun salutes, it'd be a good idea to do 5 rounds. This pdf has photos of 2 types of Ashtanga sun salutes.
* disclaimer - always be careful when practicing without a yoga teacher present. Go slow and if something hurts, stop!
1. Prasarita Padottanasa
From a standing position, step the feet out wide and bring the outside edges of the feet parallel with the short edges of your mat. Starting with your hands on your hips, inhale to arch the back gently and look up, as you exhale fold forward and lower your hands to the mat. Keeping the spine long begin to walk your hands back in line with your feet for more of a stretch. Hold for 5 breaths.
2. Parivritta Padottanasana
From Prasarita Padottanasa, bring your left hand on the mat, underneath the forehead. Press it down into the floor or on to a book or a block if you don't reach the floor. On an inhale, ground down through your left hand and as you exhale, begin to reach your right arm up for a twist. Keep your hips square and your legs engaged. Hold for 5 breaths then swap sides.
3. Ardha Matsyendrasana
To come into this pose, sit with both legs out in front of you. Bend your right knee and step your foot over your left thigh. Stay here with your left leg still straight out in front of you, or bend your left knee so that your left foot comes to your right hip as in the photo above. Make sure you're not sitting on top of your feet; if you are, keep the bottom leg extended. Inhale your left arm straight up, on an exhale twist to your right and hug or hook your right knee with your left arm. Hold for 5 breaths then swap sides.
A note on twists from the book The Spirit of Yoga:
"Twists work in many ways. For instance, they adjust the spine, tone the spinal nerves, and ease stomach ailments by stretching the inner digestive organs. They are also wonderful detoxifiers as they wring the old blood from the spine, recharging it with fresh sustenance."
It's precisely because of this detoxifying quality that we should do lots of twists when it's springtime!
4. Setu bandasana
Lie on your back with your arms by your side, palms of the hands facing down. Bend your knees so they're pointing up and bring your feet to inner hip distance (not as wide as you think!). Your ankles should be right below your knees (do as I say not as I do, ahem...). On an inhale, slowly begin to roll up the spine vertebrae by vertebrae. Leave your hands as they are or interlace them behind your back, drawing your shoulder blades closer together. Hold for 5 breaths, and repeat 3 times. Be careful not to turn your head from side to side!
Sit down with the soles of your feet together and your knees out to the side. Reach the feet farther away from you until you can grab your shin bones with extended arms when you sit upright. And here's the best part... Melt your body down over your legs, really just let it all hang out. Let your spine round, let your head be heavy, have your arms wherever is comfortable. Hold for 5 breaths.
6. Viparita karani
In English, we call this pose legs up the wall, which pretty much explains what we're going for :) All you have to do, is bring both of your legs up a wall, making sure that your sit bones and your legs are touching the wall. Bring your arms by your sides with your palms facing up and close your eyes.
Fun fact about this: karani means attitude, and as it doesn't end with 'asana' like all of the other poses it isn't actually a pose. Rather, it's an attitude. Viparita means reversing. Therefore this pose means 'reversing attitudes.' So if you're ever feeling down, all you need to do is chuck your legs up a wall for a while. You can hang out here for as long as you want, but make sure to stay for at least 5 minutes.
Finally, rest in savasana for 10 minutes.
-Lindsay here, hope you enjoyed Part 2 of Spring Rejuvenation - Yoga and Fitness. Til tomorrow! We have another guest post from the lovely Elise with some Spring de-purging and self organization. Happy Thursday!