By Suze Davenport
One piece of good news is that Spring has definitely sprung. The days are getting longer and the sunshine is making its appearance more often. The trees are regrowing their leaves and the flowers are starting to bloom, perfuming and freshening the air.
We can open the windows and doors to air out our homes and welcome in the sunshine. We might feel like spring cleaning and decluttering, creating more space for new opportunities to blossom.
As the weather grows warmer and we awaken from our winter slumber, we might seek the great outdoors more often allowing mother nature to lift and soothe our spirits. We may feel energized and perhaps more motivated to start a new exercise routine or reinvigorate an old one. After the heavier comfort foods of Winter, we might crave lighter foods, particularly as we head towards the summer months.
Just as Spring is a time of renewal and transformation, so too is yoga an opportunity to let go of the old and make room for the new, detoxifying, refreshing and re-energizing the body, mind and spirit. As we flow from one pose to the next, yoga can help release stuck energy and negative thought patterns allowing fresh energy to flow and a calmer and more positive mindset to bloom.
Here are some ways that yoga can benefit you in Spring:
- Warming up - just as waking up from a deep sleep and turning on the light to start our day can disorientate us, so too can the change of season make us feel out of sorts as our body clock adapts to daylight saving’s time, longer days and the change in the weather. Because of this, we need to be gentle with ourselves as we make the transition from night through to day, and winter to spring. So too with yoga, do we need to ease into our practice with gentle movements to warm up the body. Taking the time to gently warm up, particularly in the cooler mornings of early Spring, can help to lubricate the joints, increase mobility and unwind stiffness and tightness in the body for our day ahead, especially if we have been moving less in the winter months and during lock downs.
As we ease into our practice, we also take an opportunity to connect with our breath to draw our attention away from the monkey-mind chatter of negative thoughts, allowing us to practice yoga more mindfully and cultivate a sense of calm awareness for our day ahead.By being mindful, we are better able to listen to our body and modify our practice avoiding injury and to recognize when we need to rest and recharge our energy not only on the mat but in our daily lives as well.
- Sun salutations - salute the Spring sunshine with sun salutations (a flowing sequence of movements with the breath) to further warm up the body for our practice, increase blood circulation and metabolism, and to reawaken and refresh the body, mind and spirit.
- Vinyasa flow – a more vigorous flowing sequence of movements incorporating core exercises and standing poses with longer holds to build strength and stamina and reinvigorate and energize the body. By doing so, we build the heat to “burn off” the excesses of Winter as our respiratory and cardiovascular systems work more strongly. This flowing sequence not only strengthens and tones the whole body but also helps to calm the mind as we focus on meeting the challenge of longer holds with our breath.
See you next month for part 2 :)