Updated: Mar 1, 2021
Spring is upon us even if Punxsutawney Phil says that we have about 4 more weeks of winter. Of course, not only have we endured winter, but an ongoing pandemic as well. It will be nice to finally get outside and get fresh air…and how nice is it to know that the sun will be shining for longer hours and that the earth will be blooming with vibrant colors? To celebrate and rejoice in spring and to get your energetic vibe back, here are some poses that welcome in the season. Once you have practiced and understand the alignment of the pose, you can sequence the poses for a flow (dance). If possible, get outside and practice.
Mountain Pose - tadasana. Stand with your feet together, soaking into the earth. Feel the four corners of your feet root down. Energetically lift the kneecaps and firm your thigh muscles. Stretch the crown of your head toward the sky. Feel your chest lift and broaden. Try to align your ears over the shoulders, shoulders over your hips, hips over the knees and knees over feet.
Tree pose - vrksasana. Stand in mountain pose. Lift your right foot either above or below your knee. Your right knee should be pointing to the right and the right toes should be pointing down. Keep your left toes spread out pointing forward. As you ground down into your left foot, take your hands to your heart in prayer pose. Press into your hands and stretch the top of your head to the sky as your left foot melts into the ground. Keep your hips and heart facing forward. Switch sides.
Standing forward bend - uttanasana. After tree pose is done on both sides, take your hands to your hips and begin to hinge forward and down bringing your fingers to the floor. Do not force your hands down. Keep a bend in your knees if the hands do not reach the ground. Gradually press your hamstrings back while you are in a forward bend. Keep the crown of your head stretching toward the mat. Your feet should be parallel with each other and should be supporting the same amount of weight in each foot. Feel the stress of the winter tumble down your back.
Downward facing Dog - adho mukha svanasana. From your standing forward bend, walk your feet back so that you can comfortably suspend in an upside down V shape. Your hands should be shoulder width apart and your feet should be hip width apart. Keep the feet parallel with each other and the outsides of your mat. Be sure to spread all 10 fingers and all ten toes forward. Evenly distribute your weight into each hand and foot. Your goal is to stretch every muscle and strengthen every bone in your body. Feel your shoulders open and blood circulate to your brain to de clutter your mind and to make room for more personal growth in spring.
Table top pose – bharmanasana. This gentle stretch is to help bring balance in the body. Align your shoulders over your wrists and your hips over the knees. Keep your toes pointing back. The tail is reaching back while the crown is reaching forward. This is a great position to tuck the head and tail under, bringing yourself into a cat pose marjaryasana and cow pose bitilasana while lifting the tail and head and gazing at the sky. The combination of cat and cow pose, bring ENERGY into your body.
Seated twist - matsyendrasana. Sit with your legs extending to the end of your mat. Bend your right knee toward your bottom. Cross your right foot over to the left side of your thigh. You should have your right foot pressing into the floor as well as your sitting bones. Your left toes are pointing up and your left heel is reaching forward. Keep your left thigh grounded. Reach your right hand behind you and stretch your left arm up to the ceiling. Line your left arm with your ear. Rotate your trunk to the right and hook your left elbow to the outside of your right knee if possible If you cannot hook your elbow, hold your knee with your left hand. As your sit up tall, twist your spine. Twisting deeply cleanses your internal organs and releases toxins. You are making space for fresh beginnings.
Finally and appropriately, try plough or halasana pose. After seated twist, lie down on your mat. It is best to take all accessories out of your hair. It is also best to NEVER turn your head in this pose. As you exhale, draw your lower belly to your spine and firm your back into the floor. Press your arms into the earth, inhale and lift your legs over your head towards the floor. Stretch out through the heels. If your feet do not touch the ground behind you, take your hands to the lowest part of your back and look at your thighs above your eyes. If your feet do touch the floor behind you, curl your toes under and stretch your heel back. Keep the neck relaxed and the shoulders away from your ears. Plough pose stretches and opens all parts of the body, clears the mind and soothes the nervous system.
In each pose, remember to breathe rhythmically and evenly in and out of your nose.
“No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn"
Hal Borland, 1900-1978
American author, journalist and naturalist