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Spring Yoga Routine

October 3, 2011

Spring Yoga Routine

‘Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself” Zen Proverb

Spring is a time of renewal and transformation, growth and expansion. The following sequence,with an emphasis on twisting, stimulates the digestive system as well as the liver and kidneys – exactly what is required for ‘Spring cleaning’ after the indulgent winter period.
You can use the sequence as a stand-alone short practice or as part of a longer sequence after some standing postures or Surya Namaskar (Salute to the Sun):
1.    Start in Vajrasana (Thunderbolt pose) bysitting on your heels with your hands on your knees. Do a couple of cycles of deep, slow abdominal breathing to settle the mind.
Continue the breathing cycle with Simhasana (Lion Breath) as you take a long slow inhalation through both nostrils and exhale forcefully through your wide-open mouth, sticking out the tongue with a ‘ha’ sound. The palms are pressed against the knees and your eyes are focused at the spot between the eyebrows.  Repeat 3 times.2.    Raise up onto the knees, stretching your arms up to the ceiling as you breathe in and exhale chanting AUM as you release the body onto the floor in child pose (repeat 3 times).
3.    From the kneeling position step the right leg forward into a Low Lunge(Anjaneyasana) with your left leg stretched out behind you, knee on the floor. On the next inhalation sweep your arms up toward the ceiling and stay for a couple of breaths. Place your palms together in front of the chest as you twist the upper body to the right, hooking the left elbow over the outside of the right knee into a twisting lunge. Hold for3- 5 breaths. Return to face the front and release both hands onto the floor before repeating on the other side.
4.    Push into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog) before stepping forward into Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend), feet together, hands on the floor and knees bent if required.
5.    Inhale as you lift up into Utkatasana (the Chair pose) by bending your legs, dropping the buttocks and raising the arms in front of you shoulder height. Stay for 3-5 breaths.
6.    From the Chair Pose bring the hands together in prayer position to your chest before twisting to the right as you place your left elbow on the right knee for the squat twist. Hold for 3 breaths on both sides. On the next exhalation place your hands on the floor next to your feet and step or jump backwards into Downward Facing Dog.
7.    From Downward Facing Dog move into Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (the Resting Pigeon Pose) by bringing your bent right knee forward between the hands to rest on the inside of your right wrist, right heel pointing in towards your body. Stretch your left leg behind you, the top of the foot on the floor, squaring your hips to the front.  Repeat on the other side.
8. From Pigeon pose swing the back leg (right) forward and place the foot next to the front bent knee as you move into Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Spinal Twist) by twisting the upper body to the right towards the inside of the right thigh, hooking the left elbow around the right knee with the right hand on the floor close to back. Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
9.    To release the back move into Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend) with both legs stretched out in front of you, bending forward from the hips, holding the ankles or feet – if you have tight hamstrings bend the knees slightly to protect your back.
10.   You can now return to Vajrasana (the first posture in the sequence) for another round  (or more) – listen to your body for what is appropriate for you OR
11.   You can release into Savasana (Corpse Pose) with your legs separated, arms relaxed by your side and palms turned up. Stay and enjoy the relaxation and stillness for at least 10 minutes.
12.   Retain the sense of stillness as you gently roll up to a sitting position of choice for your meditation practice.
_______________________________________
Janetta van der Merwe is a certified yoga teacher through Ananda Kutir where she is currently teaching. She has been working in Higher Education in the field of copyright for many years and is a life-long student in Yoga, Buddhism and Psychology. jwv@chec.ac.za
Many thanks to Leigh-Ann Luckett, who is currently finishing her teacher training, for modelling the sequence.
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