After more or less 3 months cocooning, staying warm inside the house, enjoying the fire places (or central heaters nowadays), nurturing the body with more heavy food to keep it warm and give energy to stay healthy, a new season is about to start: spring. The meteorological spring starts at March 1, the Western calendar says it starts at March 21.
In the first days of Spring, we see how everything is awakening from a long deep sleep. It is the time to be active and to be awake. Nature is waking up as the days lengthen, plants and flowers start to blossom and the colour green is everywhere. The colours and life around make the spirit feel full, our appetite is less, or at least, we start to eat lighter food, food that is easier to digest. It is the time to cleanse, fast and allow this new beginning of life to start from a clean space. As we clean, we make room (the element Space) for new visions, for new opportunities and new plans to come through without much effort. The energy is expanding and is the beginning of Yang energy.
Be very careful by practicing theses poses, especially when you have none or little experience in yoga and/or sports. If you feel any pain during a pose, back off, take some rest or even stop doing the particular exercise. Respect your body, respect your limits 🙏🏻🧘♂🧘🏻♀🙏🏻. If you still experience pain after these poses, please consult your GP. ~~littlemissyoga~~ is not responsible for any physical injuries or mental issues.
1. Uttanasana / Standing forward fold
😊😊Benefits: Opens the back of the body, stretches the hamstrings, hips and calves. It lengthens the spine, it creates more space on the back of the body. Furthermore, this pose provides strength to your thighs and knees. Regular practice relieves stiffness in your spine, neck and back.
- Step 1: Tuck your toes and push into both feet, folding evenly over your legs (picture 1). Activate your abdomen (navel towards spine) to have a better and steadier foundation.
- Step 2: Bend your knees as much as needed (picture 2), in favour of lengthening the spine and releasing tension in the neck. You can also use blocks (or a thick book/pillow) to put your hands on or cuff your elbows with the opposite hands (picture 3).
- Step 3: Breathe towards the belly, hold as long as you want.
- Step 4: To get out of the pose: Bend your knees deeper, let your arms hang loose, tuck your chin, press a little harder in all 4 corners of your feet and roll yourself up to standing, stacking the vertebras one by one. Last part is to lift your chin.
- Step 5: Take a few moments to observe your body and mind, arms resting alongside the body.
2. Utthan pristhasana / Lizard lunge
😊😊Benefits: Opens and stretches the hips flexors and groins, it even creates some flexibility in the lower back. It strengthens the thigh muscles of the front leg and it opens the chest and neck. With opening up the hips it is possible that you release emotions, if this is happening, just let it be 😊. This pose is a good preparation for practicing hanomanasana (full splits).
- Step 1: Come on your hands and knees, hands shoulder width, wrists in line with shoulders; knees hip width, knees in line with hips.
- Step 2: Step your right foot forward, on the outside of your right hand. You can stay on your hands (picture 1) or lower down on the fore arms (picture 2), as long as your hips descend lower than your heart.
- Step 3: Keep your front knee in line with the ankle and allow your weight to move to the outer edge of the front foot (picture 3). You can even lower down on the fore arms (picture 4), this is opening the hips even more.
- Step 4: Hold for 5 breathes or more as long as you like before you change legs.
- Note: If you hold this pose for a few minutes (like a Yin-pose), you can take a counterpose before changing legs, for example ardha hanoman/half splits, all fours (with hip circles) or even downward facing dog (with hip circles). Most important is to listen to your body.
- Step 5: After you have done both sides, you can sit down in Thunderbolt (your bump on your heels) or come into balasana /(wide legged) child’s pose.
3. Ustrasana / Camel pose
😊😊 Benefits: Opens up and stretches the chest, abdomen, quadriceps and hip flexors. It improves the spinal flexibility and loosens up the vertebrate. Also, it strengthens the shoulders, back muscles, thighs and arms. It even can reduce fat on the thighs (after doing this pose quite often) and it improves your posture.
- Step 1: Come to an upright kneeling position, knees hip width distance. You can either tuck your toes or keep them pointed (flat on the floor).
- Step 2: Keep your hips vertical of the knees, placing the hands either at the lower back for support (picture 1), or one or two hands on the heels (picture 2 & 3), lift your heart into Ustrasana. You can keep the head up or drop it down for opening up the throat (picture 4).
- Step 3: Keep squeezing the inner thighs toward the midline, extend the sacrum downward toward the knees.
- Step 4: Try to hold for around five breaths in this pose.
- Step 5: Come out of the pose by squeezing the legs together and letting the heart lead you up. If you had your head down, you first lift the neck and head to an upright position. Then slowly sit down in Thunderbolt (sitting on your heels) or in balasana/(wide legged) child’s pose.
You can stay in balasana (child’s pose) after you have finished these 3 poses, to calm down the body and relax the breath. Whenever you are ready to come out of it, feel free to do so. And enjoy the rest of the day or have a good sleep 😊.
I hope you have enjoyed these 3 poses and that you feel more energized and opened up, ready for facing spring 😊. If you like, you can share your experiences with me 😊.
💜💚 With love 💜💚