Try This 11-Pose Sequence To Spring Clean Your Yoga Practice
Spring is the season to detox the liver and digestive organs. Shifting from the introspective winter, we clean up, clear out, and make space, to step into spring’s new beginnings. In this sequence, you’ll find powerful yang poses to build heat, twists to stimulate the digestion, and restorative yin postures to balance and re-center.
1. Child's pose with a block
This gentle fold stretches the hips and thighs. From hands and knees, bring big toes together, separate knees wider than hips, and fold chest onto a block and rest your forehead on the floor. Arms can extend forward, and hips can lower toward the heels. Breathe fully into the back ribs, expanding side waist and belly. Stay for 10 breaths.
2. Downward dog
From child's pose, lift hips then extend legs toward straight, keeping the feet hip width or wider. Spread the fingers flat, facing forward, and actively press the knuckles down while lifting your sitz bones up. Keeping the arms alongside the ears, wrap your elbows back toward your feet, so your shoulder blades are spread wide on your back. Down dog lengthens the spine, opens hamstrings and shoulders while toning arms and legs. Stay for 10 breaths.
3. Low lunge
From downward dog, step right foot forward near the right palm and lower back knee behind the hip. Stack your front knee over the ankle and bring arms to prayer at the chest. Twist the left elbow outside the right thigh; making a fist with the top hand, press firmly down into the bottom palm. Rotate the sternum to meet the palms. Lean your head back and gaze toward the sky. Take 5 breaths then repeat on the other side, transitioning through downward-facing dog.
Squats open the hips and aid in digestion. Fold up a blanket and place heels on the edge with toes resting on the floor, feet hip-width distance, resting the knees in the armpits. If the knees hurt, you can place a second blanket between the calf muscles and thighs. Bonus points to lift hips up and lower again, keeping the knees in the armpits the entire time. Stay for 10 breaths.
5. Revolved downward-facing dog
In downward-facing dog, bend the left knee toward the left armpit and grab the outer right heel with the left hand. Begin to press right heel down extending the leg straight and gaze past your right armpit toward the ceiling. Take 5 breaths and repeat on the other side.
6. Revolved triangle pose
From downward dog, step your right foot forward behind your right thumb. Spin your back heel in to ground it, shortening your stride as much as you need. Press firmly into your outer back heel as you press the left palm into a block, next to your right foot. Rotate the torso to face the right, and finally draw you right arm straight up to the sky and gaze toward the right palm. Take 5 breaths then repeat on the other side, transitioning through down dog.
7. Virasana twist
Sit with a block on the wide setting between your ankles and turn the block high enough so that the spine is tall and the knees are comfortable. Bend the elbows out wide and hold your shoulders, thumbs facing back. Turn your entire head and torso to the left to inhale through the nose, then twist to the right exhaling through the nose. Continue moving like this, fairly quickly, using the arms to swing back and forth with quick breaths for 30 seconds.
8. Cobra pose
Transition through a high plank and lower to belly. Press the palms down next to the chest and narrow the elbows back. Press toes into the floor, engage the thighs, and lift knees off the floor. Roll your shoulders back and chest forward. Inhale to lift the chest and exhale to lower; repeat for 3 breaths.
9. Bow pose
From lying on the belly, bend your knees and grasp the ankles or the outsides of your feet. Roll your shoulders back, inhale to lift the chest, and press the feet back into your hands. Continue to narrow the knees to hip width. Take 5 breaths then lower.
10. Bridge pose
Roll over onto your back, bend your knees, and place one block under the sacrum on the wide, low setting. Knees bend directly over the ankles. Let the sacrum and hips reset in this restorative symmetrical pose. Stay for 1 minute.
11. Supta Buddha konasana
This restorative pose stimulates digestion, increases circulation, and releases inner thighs and groin. Lying on your back, bend the knees a lot, bring soles of the feet together, letting the knees fall open. Place blocks high enough to support the legs so there’s no pulling on the inner thighs. Place one hand on the heart and one hand on your belly and ensure the belly is expanding with the inhale while the chest barely lifts. Rest for up to 5 minutes to fully receive the benefits of this practice. To come out, use your hands to bring your thighs together, then roll over onto one side and push yourself to sit up.
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