Spring is a time to rid your home of accumulated clutter so you can have a fresh and light start to the new season. But spring cleaning doesn’t just apply to physical clutter; your body and mind can benefit from a rejuvenating cleanse as well.
This short yoga flow is designed to leave you feeling fresh, energized, and rejuvenated so that you can transition from the cold, shorter winter days into the warmer and longer spring days. Incorporate cleansing yoga postures to your routine to help you maintain balance in both your mind and body.
This yoga flow will take you about 10 minutes and can be done in any quiet space.
Dirga Pranayama (Three-Part Breath)
People often take shallow breaths without using their entire lung capacity. This pranayama (breathing techniques) exercise will allow a significantly increased oxygen flow into the lungs by breathing into the belly, ribcage, and chest. Dirga Pranayama will help you to settle into the space to begin your yoga practice, calm your mind, reduce anxiety, and encourage fresh oxygen to flow through your body to leave you feeling cleansed and detoxified.
A few minutes of mindful breathing before yoga practice will train your body to breathe fully and completely.
Sit comfortably with a straight and strong spine. Sit on top of a few blankets or pillows if you notice that your hips are feeling tight and your knees are lifted much higher than your hips. Close your eyes and place one hand on your belly. Take a deep and slow inhale through your nose and feel your belly grow outward, your ribcage expand and your chest rise. Exhale slowly through your nose feeling your belly and ribcage slowly contract and your chest to release. Continue to move through this three-part breath maintaining awareness to each breath for a cycle of five deep breaths.
Twists are detoxifying and cleansing to your inner organs and lymphatic system. The long winter months can make you feel sluggish. Incorporate twists into your yoga practice during this transitional season to encourage your body to maintain its natural detoxification process.
Sukhasana Twist (Easy Pose Twist)
You can do this posture from your seated position after your Dirga Pranayama exercises. Sit comfortably with your legs crossed. Make your spine straight and strong, lifting the crown of your head toward the sky. Take your left hand and place it on the outer edge of your right thigh. Begin to rotate your torso toward your right. Draw your right shoulder blade back and down. If it’s comfortable for your neck, gently gaze over your right shoulder. Hold your pose for about 10 breaths, gently return back to the center, and repeat on the left side.
Half Surya Namaskara (Half Sun Salutations)
Sun salutations are a series of poses that connect your breath to your movement. Sun salutations are a great way to heat up the body and encourage renewed movement. These movements are energetic and enlivening.
- Hands to Heart: From your seated pose, make your way up to a standing posture. Stand with your feet about hips-distance apart, and root down with all four corners of your feet. Be mindful that your weight is being distributed evenly on your feet. Engage your thigh muscles and draw your lower abdominals in. Release your shoulders away from your ears. Lengthen your neck and the crown of your head toward the sky.
- Hands to Sky: From this standing posture, take a deep inhale as you reach your hands up to the sky. Gently gaze up at your hands.
- Hands to Foot: As you exhale, slowly forward fold, hinging at your hips, and releasing your hands toward the floor. If your hands don’t reach the floor, then you can reach for the backs of your thighs or calves. Release your neck completely of any tension and allow your head to hang.
- Halfway Lift: As you inhale, draw the crown of your head toward the front of your yoga mat and find a flat spine. Your fingertips can remain on the floor, or you can place your hands on your shins as you draw your chest forward.
- Hands to Foot: As you exhale, slowly forward fold.
- Hands to Sky: As you inhale, slowly rise all the way up to a standing posture, reaching your hands to the sky and gently gaze up at your hands.
- Hands to Heart: As you exhale draw your palms together to the heart center.
- Repeat half Surya Namaskara three more times. After the third repetition, close your eyes with your hands to the heart center, and take a few deep breaths.
Lunges are a powerful and energetic exercise that combines balancing, back bending, and heart opening—three beneficial movements to help you feel light and rejuvenated. Lunges are especially strengthening for your legs and core muscles
Alanasana (Crescent Lunge)
From a standing position, step your left foot toward the back of the mat about 3 to 4 feet away from your right foot. Take a deep bend in the right knee so that your right thigh is parallel to your mat. Keep the back heel lifted, so you’re on the ball of the left foot.
As you inhale, draw both arms up toward the sky. Gently gaze up at your hands. Hold this pose for about 10 breaths. Step the left foot forward to meet the right, and repeat on the other side.
Forward folds postures can help stimulate your kidneys, liver, and bladder. This pose also aids in digestion, leaving you feeling detoxified and fresh.
Pashimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
From your lunge gently come down to a comfortable seat with both legs extended out in front of you. Root both of your sit bones into the mat and sit upright with your spine straight and strong. As you inhale, reach both hands overhead toward the sky. As you exhale, hinge at your hips and begin to forward fold over your legs.
Reach your hands toward your thighs, shins, ankles, or feet. If this pose is uncomfortable for your hamstrings, bend your knees slightly, and place your feet on your mat. If you’re feeling discomfort in your lower back, sit on top of a few pillows or blankets. Close your eyes and hold for about 10 breaths.
Backbends encourage heart opening and are energizing and revitalizing to the entire body. These poses also stimulate your abdominal organs and help improve digestion. Backbends can help reduce fatigue, which is a common feeling during the long winter months.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet about hips-distance apart. Stack your knees over your ankles. Both shoulders, the entire length of your arms, and the back of your head are on the floor.
Press your feet into the mat as you lift your hips up toward the ceiling. To build strength in the thigh muscles, draw the inner thighs down toward the mat. To build strength in your back muscles, maintain the natural curve of the back of your neck and draw your shoulders further under your body and toward one another. Open your chest toward the ceiling. Close your eyes and hold for about five breaths.