Harness your moment for you. Spring is in the air. We spring clean, creating calm and harmony within our home. But what about extending those positive, fresh feelings to our mind, body and soul? It takes time for spring to blossom and open out. Plants sit patiently through the winter, gathering themselves in their glory, and when it is time, bloom! Rooting down, pushing up through the dirt, peaking out to the sun and rising up.
Our individual practice is similar. Sure, we can move through our practice holding 3-5 breaths in each pose. But, in order to practice patience, staying with our breath for a little longer, we gather ourselves from deep down in our roots.
In honor of Spring this year, don’t just open the windows in your home, open the windows to yourself!
Here are a few poses to guide you for rooting, feeling the ground beneath your feet, and rising up and out to the sun. Our focus is to go inward, to “spring clean” ourselves. These poses are about going deeper. Moving the furniture, so to speak, to get those hard to reach spots cleaned out.
Grab some paper or a journal. “Throw up” your words. Let your pen just write, don’t try to define and make it novel-worthy. These are your feelings, your emotions, and only you will see them. Let everything that comes to mind and from your heart out on the paper. You are letting go of the blockages that have been created to “protect” you from feeling deeply. When you feel satisfied, you can burn those pages. Maybe you don’t have pages and just a sentence. But, to burn it, sets it free. It is no longer a part of you to hold you back or down… hence “throwing up on paper”. Flush it…
Take a meditative walk. Walking meditation involves deliberately thinking about and doing a series of actions that you normally do automatically. Breaking these steps down in your mind may feel awkward, even ridiculous. But let’s give it a try 🙂
- Start with a path in mind. Maybe you just walk around a space in your house. Walking outside in nature is preferred though. Barefoot is best, to truly feel the connection with the ground.
- Begin with your right foot. Toes lift up, stepping forward slowly and connecting your heel down, then toes slowly.
- Shift the weight of the body onto the forward leg as the back heel lifts, while the toes of that foot remain touching the floor or the ground and step forward slowly with INTENTION. As you walk, try to focus your attention on your breath coming in and out of your body; the movement of your feet and legs, the contact with the ground or floor; your head balanced on your neck and shoulders; sounds nearby or those caused by the movement of your body; or whatever your eyes take in as they focus on the world in front of you. Let your eyes glaze over and slowly feel yourself and your breath moving together.
- The lane doesn’t have to be very long since the goal is not to reach a specific destination, just to practice a very intentional form of walking. You might find that if your mind starts to wander you may falter in your path. Come back to your breath and keep moving forward… slowly. Maybe you journal your thoughts afterwards…
Tadasana: Mountain Pose
The benefit of Tadasana is that it sets the foundation for all other poses. It involves focus and concentration. Think of the flower about to bloom, sitting still and patiently waiting to bloom.
Stand with feet together. Spread the toes and ground down evenly through your feet. Lift up through the crown of your head. Lift your thighs and elongate the spine. Breathe easy. Do not tuck the tailbone This will push your hips forward and prevent you from forming a long line from your feet through the crown of your head. Your arms are alongside your body. Turn your biceps and palms to face forward. Align your neck so it feels long. Take a deep inhale, exhale and draw your shoulders back and down. Stay here for a good 10 breaths, full inhale, long full exhale.
Vriksasana: Tree Pose
From Tadasana, weight is shifted to one leg, for example, starting with the left leg. The entire sole of the foot remains in contact with the floor. Find a focal point. Root down through your standing leg. Bend the right knee place the right foot on the inner left thigh or onto the side of the left calf. In either foot placement, the hips should be open, with the right knee pointing towards the right, not forward. With the toes of the right foot pointing directly down, the left foot, center of the pelvis, shoulders and head are all vertically aligned. Draw hands to the heart center. Take a deep breath in and draw the hands up or out. You can hold the hands above the head either pointed directly upwards and unclasped, or clasped together. Breath and balance. Focus on your breath. When you have done at least 5 full breaths, draw the hands back to the heart center and right leg down to the ground. Switch sides, beginning by grounding and rooting down through the right leg.
These poses, these “routines”, journaling, walking meditation, are all foundations for allowing ourselves to blossom into the beautiful souls that we are. Taking the time to release and clear out the dust, not only in our homes but for ourselves. Get outside, stand barefoot on the ground, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Let the sun shine upon your face and smile! “Remember when you were young?
You shone like the sun. Shine on, you crazy diamond”. ~ Pink Floyd
By Kristina Gibson, RYT 200