There are a lot of things that I love about yoga. If I were to write a column called “My favorite things about Yoga” it would take a lifetime because everyday I learn something new either about myself or the practice. Today the thing I love is the freedom to change and grow. To have new hobbies and ideas. To meet different people and open you up to new experiences. There is no pressure to do the same thing everyday and the desire to explore the practice is encouraged. So when I say my 5 favorite poses…. they are today’s favorites. Because who knows what tomorrow will bring and thats exciting, not scary.
When I woke up this morning and began to breathe fully and move my body inbetween the sheets an excitment for the mat and 3 poses got me to take the next step of getting up.
1. Sukhasana (Easy Pose)
For me and many others this is the place I am at the beginning and end of an asana practice. This is a place for centering and calm. A place for discovery and discipline. Even though it may appear easy to sit, it is where the challenges of the mind that can rise up.
Try: linking breath and movement by inhaling the arms up and over the head and exhaling the arms back down to your sides 10 times. If it resonates with you, also imagine surrounding yourself with a white light; clearing a space around you that is full of love and contentment.
2. Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana (revolved head to knee pose)
Side bends are extremely important to my practice right now. With the combination of sitting at a desk 5 days a week and mild scoliosis my pelvis and scuplas don’t live in harmony. Opening each side of the body with this posture benefits the Hamstrings, kidneys, liver, groins, shoulders, armpits, and spine all at once. It also plays a role in my own body of stabalizing the pelvis so that when I move into a seated or stand twist I won’t put any extra strain on my SI joint (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacroiliac_joint).
Try: If it works with your body, add sidebends to your routine throughout the day. It is available sitting, standing or on the floor. Imagine expanding the sides of the rib-cage and sending breath to any place of discomfort.
3. Supta Virasana (reclining hero pose)
An absolutely amazing opener for the hips and ankles. Keep in mind if you have any serious back, knee, or ankle problems, avoid this pose unless you have the assistance of an experienced instructor. I love this pose right now because it really helps me to feel open. Not only in body but also in mind and spirit. It can feel very intense and exposing and making my way through those discomforts and anxiety’s associated with that is very satisfying. There is also room to explore by either lessening the intensity and sitting upright in regular hero pose or (if it serves you) deeping by bringing the arms up overhead to help with tight shoulders.
Try: If you are feeling too exposed try this pose with hands or a blanket resting on the belly.
Remember my 3 favorites (for today) are linked into a whole practice. If you are doing 2 and 3 make sure the body has been warmed with movement and breath and when it serves feel the freedom of exploration through postures.
*In yoga breath is always first*
What are your favorite poses today? Please share 🙂