Yesterday, March 20th was the Spring Equinox which means its officially Spring! The flowers on my plum tree are in full bloom, my perennials are all starting to come up and the energy is moving up up up! This is the perfect time to add some energy filled yoga postures to your practice. For Spring is about waking up what is dormant and rejuvenating. So some poses might seem more insular but I couple them with asanas that move out and up. Imagine a seed in the ground feeling the warmth of the sun which then awakens it. Spring is change so adding poses that represent that going from yin to yang helps me to reach balance. Speaking of balance, I’ve added some of those too. Many of these poses are intermediate, use caution when attempting them. Enjoy!
I start by waking up the body using heat building asanas. I have different warm up routines but you can always rely on the tried and true Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation). 8 to 10 should be enough to heat those muscles.
Head stand (Sirsasana)
I love this pose! It makes me feel all nice and tingly and besides it’s just plain fun to do. If you aren’t super strong in your neck and arms yet build up to this pose. Try it against a wall with your mat folded up as padding to begin. Make sure there is nothing to fall into nearby.
Come into a squat, place your forearms in front of you pressing them firmly into the ground. Clasp your fingers together interlocking. Bring your head to the ground with your hands cupping your scalp. Just get a feel for it here. Find the flat part of your head for balance and start to lean into it putting weight on the head and forearms. If you feel strong and balanced start to come up off your feet, then your toes. Pull your tummy into your spine as you pick up your feet. Stay here 5 to 10 breaths.
Hare pose is a nice alternative to this posture if you are still working on strength.
Crane Pose (Bakasana)
I mentioned balance poses and coming out of hibernation poses. I feel both insular and like I am expanding in this pose. If you can take it to the next step and extend one leg this feeling is likely more evident. I am personally still working on that.
Come into squat. Plant your hands in front, really pressing into the ground and feeling solid. Bend your arms and lean forward putting weight into the arms. Place your shins on or inside your forearms and come up onto your tip toes. Moving your weight further into the arms allow your feet to come up off the ground. Can you extend one leg out?
Modified Half Moon Pose (Ardhachandrasana)
This is a great hip opener.
Come to table top, pick up your right arm and extend it in front of you. Pick up and extend your right leg behind you. Already this is a balance pose. Bring your arm up over your head and bend your back leg reaching your hand to the foot. Push your foot into your hand to arch your spine and feel the hip opening stretch.
Sage Pose B (Marichyasana B)
I feel all bound up and ready to burst into life with this pose. Kinda like a seed, huh?
Come to sitting with both legs extended. Take your left foot and fold it up to your hip as though you were coming to lotus position. Bend the right leg and plant the foot on the ground in front of your left foot. Lean forward and wrap your right arm around your right leg, bring your left arm back behind your and grasp hands. Relax your head down. Eventually, if you work on your flexibility your will be able to reach your forehead to the ground.
If your pretty flexible this is a nice pose to stretch the hips. If you aren’t quite open yet support yourself under with a block and your hands. I am still supporting myself with my hands, just a little further.
Modified Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)
Come into Full Wheel pose by laying on your back, place your hands next to your head with fingers pointed towards your shoulders. Bend your legs and plant your feet on the ground. Push yourself up using your arms and legs feeling the arch in the spine more towards the top of your back. Push your hips towards the ceiling. Gently bend your arms and place your head on the ground, flatten your hands to the floor with forearms down. Extend one leg up.
One a side note, this is a VERY hard pose to get into in 10 seconds. Hence the blurry foot.
Work up to this posture starting with half bridge pose.
Tree Pose Arms Extended (Vrksasana)
It’s spring.. .so Tree Pose of course!
Come to mountain pose. Pick up each foot and purposefully set them down to become grounded. Shift your weight to the right foot. Pick up your left foot placing it on the ankle, calf or thigh (not the knee). Externally rotate your knee out so your hips are squared to the front of your mat. Bring your hands to heart center, find your drishti and then extend your hands up above your head then out rolling your shoulders away and down. Spread your fingers to make branches.
Standing Toe Hold Balance (Hasta Padangusthasana)
Another one that is just plain fun.
Try coming into this without releasing your tree posture. Reach your right hand down and hook your big toe then extend your leg out 45 degrees from your body. Extend your left hand to the side for balance. Once you feel solid extend your right leg out parallel to your torso and pull up on your toe. This is a nice balance and a hip opener.
King Dancer Pose (Natarajasana)
Try coming into this pose from The Toe Hold Balance Pose. Release your toe and bend your right leg. Bring your leg in so your bent knee is now in front of you. Push your leg back while hinging your body forward at the hips. Bend your back leg and reach back with your right hand to clasp your foot. Push your foot into your hand and lower your upper body a little further. Extend the left hand.
To advance this pose: grab your foot and pull your leg closer to your body wrapping your arm around the toe tucking it into the crook of your elbow. Reach the left arm over your head and clasp your hands.
Lastly. Don’t forget to laugh when you fall down… and of course get up and try again