Spring is an invitation to shake off any residual heaviness you may be carrying. It’s an awakening from the dull and possibly gloomy winter months to step into fresh new possibilities. Spring brings colour and life back in to our lives and invites us to shift from stagnation to change and transformation. Spring reflects all the ways in which we have the potential to start over.
Let this beginner yoga practice clear out any congestion you might be feeling energetically, emotionally and physically. Let the breath be fluid and rhythmic throughout this dynamic practice. Take any variations you might need, and allow this practice to be equally energizing and restorative.
Standing at the top of your mat, keep your feet hip distance apart and parallel. Gently close your eyes or drop your gaze down. Take a deep inhale through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth, making your exhalation vocal. Send your breath to all the spaces in your body that might need attention.
Notice any sensations you might be experiencing at this moment. Check in energetically, notice how you feel on a scale of one to ten. Finally, tune into your thoughts, ideas, plans you might be making, expectations you may have, with the invitation to cast them all aside for the rest of this practice.
Find 7-10 breaths in your Tadasana
Crescent Lunge + Twist
Root down into your right foot and take a step back with your left leg. Staying on the ball of that foot, find a bend in your front knee, aligning it with your heel. As you extend your back leg, imagine pressing it against a wall. Soften the shoulders down, pull your shoulder blades together and lift your heart forward and up. Take a deep inhale as you reach the arms up and find a twist towards the right side, arms extended. Gently gaze over your back shoulder. Inhale bring the arms back, exhale and find the twist. Repeat 4 more times.
Revolved Crescent Lunge (Parivṛtta Aṅjaneyāsana)
From your Crescent Lunge, bring your palms together in front of your chest, slowly twist towards the right and hook your left elbow outside your right knee,. Stack your shoulders as you press your palms together and allow the heart to open up. If it is accessible, shift your gaze up. Stay here for 5 breaths. With every inhale, find length in your spine, and every exhale, twist deeper into your pose.
Revolved Chair (Parivritta Utkatasana)
With hands still at heart centre, slowly draw your left foot forward to meet your right. Align your knees, keep your shoulders stacked and continue to press your palms into one another. Make sure your knees and hips are parallel here. Soften into this the intensity. Find length in your spine as you reach through the crown of your head and explore a deeper twist on your exhale. Stay here for 3-5 breaths.
Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
On your next inhale, reach your arms up and exhale to find your forward fold. Soften your neck and shoulders. A slight bend in your knees will allow your belly to rest on your thighs to release tension in the lower back. As your feet root down, lift the toes up to activate the legs, then release them back down to your mat. Your fingertips can be on a block or touching the earth. Close your eyes and stay here for 5-10 breaths.
Inhale reach your arms up coming back to your Tadasana, and exhale hands to heart centre. With your eyes closed, pause here. Reconnect with your breath. Feel the expansion around your heart as you inhale, lifting your heart up.
Repeat these 3 poses on the other side.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
From Tadasana, inhale your arms above you and exhale, bending at the hips into your forward fold. Root your hands into the mat with your fingers spread wide. From here, step back into your downward facing dog. Feel free to bend your knees here, sending your sit bones up and back. Release the weight of your head and keep your shoulders square in this pose.
Lord of the Fishes (Matsyendrasana)
From a seated position, extend both legs out in front of you. Bend your right leg and place your foot on the outside of your left knee. Place your right hand behind you, tenting your fingers and find length in your spine. As you inhale, reach up with your left hand and exhale into your twist. Place your left elbow against your knee, or hold onto your thigh. Allow your inhales to lift your heart forward, emanating through your rib cage. Close your eyes, reach upwards through the crown of your head, and keep your chin parallel to the earth. Stay here for 7-10 breaths. On your exhale come back to centre and take a counter pose if you need. Do the same thing on the other side.
Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)
Laying on your back, place the soles of your feet hip distance apart. On your inhale, press into your feet to lift your hips up. Pull your shoulder blades together and interlace your fingers behind your back. Soften your jaw and check in with your exhale. Activate your legs by imagining a block between your knees and lift your heart towards the sky. Stay here for 5-10 smooth and steady breaths. Option to slowly raise your right leg up towards the sky for 2 breaths, place it back down, and switch to the other leg. Release your fingers and bring the hips back down to the mat with control.
Windshield Wipers with a Twist
With your knees still bent, take your feet as wide as your mat and gently bring your knees together. Grab opposite elbows in front of you. As you let both knees fall over to the left, take your arms, shoulders, and elbows to the right. Stay here for a few breaths, and switch sides, taking the knees to the right and the upper body over the left. Repeat as many times as you like and stay on each side as long as you need.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Take a moment to get yourself as comfortable as possible. Lay on your back, take your feet as wide as your mat and palms facing up. Feel free to support your neck and knees with a bolster or a blanket. Take a deep inhale, filling up your lungs and your belly and then exhale with a deep sigh. Let your entire weight anchor into the earth. Soften around your eyes, gently part your lips, rest your tongue down. Let your breath be effortless and smooth. Savasana is an invitation to let go of all the things that no longer serve us, old stories, patterns, behaviours and thoughts. Releasing fully, in order to receive.
Allow your body to fully receive the benefits of your efforts and your practice. Stay in your Savasana for 5-10 minutes. Slowly bring your attention and your awareness back to the space, the sounds and your sensations. Take a conscious breath in. Gently find some movement into your fingertips and your toes. Start to rock your head from side to side. Keeping your eyes closed, roll over to one side into a fetal position for a few breaths, in stillness and in gratitude. Gently press into your hands as you find a comfortable seat. Bring your palms together in front of your heart. Notice here, if you feel differently, physically, energetically, or in your thoughts. Take a deep breath in to fill your lungs and your belly and exhale slowly.
Yoga found me eight years ago. My practice allows me to turn inward, to be a witness, to lean into the resistance and to surrender. On my mat, I found freedom and it is where peace finds me, over and over again. My intention is offer yoga to every body, to create community, and to hold space for healing.
I guide Yoga classes at Espace Rose Buddha in Montreal where these photographs were taken.
Everyday activities like sitting at a desk, staring at a computer, hunching over a cell phone or even holding a bag consistently on one side can cause stagnancy, stiffness and fatigue in the body. As habits build, poor posture can easily become second nature, causing back and neck pain and even damaging spinal structures.
However, the main factors that affect posture are totally within our control, and aren’t difficult to change with consistent awareness. If you’re sitting at a desk for eight hours a day, the following tips will help support you in maintaining a better posture.