Happy Spring! This week's blog post includes some simple things you can do to prepare your body and mind for the change of seasons. Before we had grocery stores with everything available to us at any time of year, we were more dependent upon eating seasonally, which is actually healthier for us! If you do choose to eat seasonally, it is helpful to assist the body with change of seasons by getting enough rest and with herbal teas and natural medicine. Diet: As the days warm and the first greens appear, we traditionally begin to eat foods that are less heavy. It's a good time to eat more veggies and fruits and limit heavier foods. To assist your digestive system with the change, try adding bitters to your diet - drinking with water before meals. You can also use cider vinegar (I recommend Bragg's) - 2 tsp in a little water. Warning: This does NOT taste good, but it is so good for your digestion and is a quick fix for bloating! Cinnamon, Cardamom, Fennel, Peppermint and Ginger teas are also great for digestion. Also, hot water with 1/2 a lemon and a little honey and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper! Rest: One of the most important things we can do is get enough rest - especially after Daylight Savings time ends and we are faced with getting up in darkness again. It is an adjustment for many of us to reset the body's internal clock and it is important to get enough rest! Make every effort to get to bed a little earlier whenever possible. Exercise: A simple asana sequence for Spring when you wake up in the morning, or at least 1-2 hours after you eat. (this sequence has a focus on morning as it is a bit too energizing for an evening practice. You could skip the standing sequences in the middle to use it to wind down at night...) Begin on your back.
Apanasana Lie on your back and hug your knees into your chest.
Gomukasana on your back
Cross Right leg over left and hug knees into chest, grabbing your lower shins or ankles. Hug knees to midline while gently pulling shins away from each other.
Bring left foot to floor and drop both knees to the left in a twist. Repeat w/ left leg crossed over right.
Roll up to a sit
Navasana (Boat pose)
Lift feet off floor with shins parallel to floor (if possible)
Boat Pose w/ Twist
Inhale arms overhead and Exhale as you twist right. Inhale arms overhead and exhale left.
Repeat 4x each side. Come to Table pose.
Cat/Cow Inhale arching spine and lifting your chest and tail. (Cow Pose). Exhale rounding your back and stretching between the shoulder blades. (Cat Pose) Repeat 4x.
Extend your right leg back, big toe down and left arm forward, thumb face up. Hold 3 breaths. Repeat opposite side.
Bring your seat to your heels, stretching both arms forward and bring your forehead to your mat or a block. Hold for several breaths.
Inhale Right arm up and thread it underneath your left arm, resting on the back of the right arm. Lift your left arm behind your back and see if you can reach your hip crease. Hold 3-5 breaths. Repeat other side.
DownDog w/ twist
Come back to Child and lift your hips up and back into Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Savanasana). Walk your feet in just slightly and reach your right arm through to grab the outside of your left shin. Hold 3 breaths. Repeat other side.
Low Lunge w/ Side Stretch
Come back to Downward Facing Dog and step your Right foot forward into lunge. Bring the left knee down and untuck your toes. Lift all the way up and grab your left wrist with right hand taking a side bend to the right.
Exhale back to lunge, bringing the left hand down to floor and right hand to thigh. Lift the back knee up to come into twisted lunge and raise the right hand to the sky. Step back to Downward Facing Dog. Step left foot forward and repeat low lunge with side stretch and twisted lunge on the other side.
Uttanasana w/ hand clasp
Step right foot forward into forward fold. Clasp your hands behind you and lift your arms behind you for a shoulder stretch.
Tadasana (Mountain Pose) - Come to standing with feet hip width apart. (No photo of this)
Twist from side to side and allowing arms to swing and hands or fists to gently tap body from side to side. Allow your back foot to pivot as you twist so your knee doesn't lock.
Monkey breath Tilting side to side, bending elbow and bringing hand to underarm "like a monkey" and exhaling "Ha" - Repeating side to side - 8-10 times.
Step legs a little wider than hip width and Inhale arms overhead (Kali Mudra). Exhale as you bring arms down through center and bend knees into squat. Repeat 6-8 times.
Malasana End in Squat. Press Right hand down to floor, and twist left arm up. Repeat other side. Come back to standing.
Step Right foot back to 5-Pointed Star (No photo for this - wide leg stance with arms outstretched)
Dynamic Twists Exhale as you twist and cross right hand to left ankle. Inhale through Center and Exhale Left hand to right ankle. Repeat 6-8 times.
Come back to the front of your mat and stand in Mountain Pose.
Step right foot back and bend left knee into Warrior 1. Both hip points are forward, and right foot is at 30-45 degree angle. Inhale arms overhead and hold 3-5 breaths.
Straighten your front leg. And grab your elbows behind your back. Inhale to lift your chest and squeeze shoulder blades towards each other. Exhale as you Forward Fold. Inhale to come back up. Bend your knee and step forward. Repeat other side.
Inhale arms overhead and exhale to sit hips back in chair pose. Take prayer hands in front of your heart.
Inhale here and Exhale to Twist Right - Stay there or step your left leg back to twisted lunge.
Parivritta Ardha Chandrasana
Step your left hand 6-8" forward and lift your left leg up behind you, flexing the foot and keeping the leg as parallel to floor as possible. Step back to lunge and downdog. Jump forward and repeat series other side from Utkatasana - Twisting Left 2nd time from Downdog - jump through to a sit.
Roll back on to your back, bringing your feet in close to your hips (ankles in line with knees).
Inhale lifting hips up as you press down through feet and hands (or clasp hands under your tailbone).
Knee Down Twist Drop your knees to right for several breaths and then repeat left. Viparita Karani Find a wall space for Legs up the wall if time allows.
Sukhasana w/ Jnana Mudra End in Sukhasana (easy pose: seated crossed leg). Pranayama to clear the mind. Do 5 minutes of Alternate Nostril breathing, beginning by breathing in through the left nostril (closing the right) and exhaling through the right nostril (closing the left). End by breathing in through the right nostril (closing the left) and out through the left (closing the right). Then sit in quiet meditation, focusing on the breath with Jnana mudra for 10-15 minutes. Notice how you feel. If you have any questions regarding this sequence or modifications, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Namaste.