Ah, spring! The welcome change of season brings with it lighter and longer days, new life, and the excitement of a fresh start. With the new scents and brighter days, you may even notice a spring in your step!
Use these poses to prepare for springtime outdoor adventures like riding your bike, hiking to check out blooming wildflowers, and spending your day planting in your garden.
Child’s Pose (Balasana)
As you bow forward in this gentle hip and back stretch, imagine yourself as a small seed. This pose is beneficial for considering what intentions you’re planting this season.
In the book, You Can Heal Your Life, author Louise L. Hay reminds us, “The soil you plant in is your subconscious mind. The seed is the new affirmation. The whole new experience is in this tiny seed. You water it with affirmations. You let the sunshine of positive thoughts beam on it. You weed the garden by pulling out negative thoughts that come up…Then you watch it grow and become your desire in manifestation.”
- Come to your knees.
- Bring your big toes together behind you.
- Widen your knees as much as is comfortable.
- Send your hips back toward your heels.
- Reach your arms forward and rest your head on the ground or on a block.
- Hold for 10 to 15 breaths.
Squat Pose (Malasana)
The Squat Pose opens your hips and stretches your legs. This deep stretch is beneficial for bending down while playing with youngsters, crouching to work in the garden, and keeping mobility for using the toilet as your body ages. Imagine yourself as a tiny, green sprout reaching your small leaves toward the sunlight. Reach for your highest goals!
- Stand with your feet as wide as your hips.
- Turn your toes slightly out and your heels slightly in.
- Bend your knees as deeply as you can to squat down.
- Bring your palms together and press your elbows against your inner thighs.
- Move your shoulders down away from your ears and lift your chest toward your thumbs.
- Stay for three to five breaths.
- For a supported version, sit up on a block or bolster.
- For knee injuries, widen your feet and don’t bend very low.
- Roll up the edge of your mat or a blanket to step on if your heels pick up when you squat.
Seated Spinal Twist (Marichyasana)
Strengthen your spine and increase your range of motion by twisting. This seated twist is beneficial in practical preparation for looking over your shoulder as you merge while riding a bike or driving. Imagine that you’re wringing out the old patterns that no longer serve you as they once did. Symbolically turn in a new direction toward your biggest dreams!
- Take a seat, up on a blanket if your hips are tight.
- Extend your legs out in front.
- Bend your right knee.
- Step your right foot across your left knee and stamp our foot flat into the ground.
- Bend your left knee and curl your left foot towards your right thigh.
- Place your right hand behind you for stability.
- Hug your knee with your left arm or hook your left elbow outside of your knee.
- Turn your head to look over your right shoulder.
- Sit up taller as you inhale, turn and twist as you exhale.
- Stay in the pose for three to five breaths.
- Unwind and switch sides.
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
This balancing pose helps hone focus while strengthening the standing leg and opening the opposite hip. Concentration and present-moment awareness are beneficial for noticing the subtle changes in temperature and new spring growth. The tree reminds us to stand rooted and grounded in inner strength, but light and open to the possibilities of life. Stability and flexibility work hand in hand!
- Stand with your feet together.
- Spread the toes of your left foot wide and engage the muscles in that leg.
- Turn your right knee out and touch your right foot to your left ankle, calf, or inner thigh.
- Press your foot into your leg and press your leg back towards your foot
- Fix your eyes on a driste, gazing point.
- Bring your hands to your heart or reach them up.
- Stay for 5 to 10 breaths and repeat on the other leg.
Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)
This pose stretches the hips, legs, inner thighs, groin, back, and arms, and is especially beneficial for releasing lower back pain. Physically and energetically, tap into the joy and bliss of a happy baby first finding its toes! Honor the new life around you as spring awakens: baby humans, baby birds, new plant growth, and perhaps your own sense of rejuvenation.
- Come to your back.
- Bend your knees and hug them into your chest.
- Bring your hands to your knees or shins and pull your knees toward your armpits.
- Bring your elbows inside of your knees and reach up to hold onto your feet or ankles.
- Pull down with your arms at the same time as you push up with your feet.
- Flex your feet and work your knees and thighs closer to the ground next to your ribs.
- Press your tailbone and hips down.
- If it feels OK on your spine, rock side to side and try extending your legs to the sides for a hamstring stretch.
- Hold for 5 to 10 breaths and release.
Whether your Spring plans include starting a garden or dedicating time to cultivating the seeds of a new hobby or passion, these poses can get you started. Allow the hips to open and the legs to stretch as you remember your connection to the fertile earth. Allow your breath to mindfully flow slowly in and out as you connect to the element of water. Allow yourself to be present as you witness the changes in your local flora and fauna, as well as those subtle shifts occurring in your inner landscape.