Spring has finally sprung in Chicago! After a long and particularly harsh winter, it is such a sigh of relief to see the crocuses, daffodils, and irises poking their little heads out of the dirt. It feels good on my skin to feel the warm morning sun rising earlier each day. In the world there is a general energy of moving out of the earth and rising up towards the sky. Being grounded is important, but too much earth or too much lightness can throw my body and my mind out of balance. Spring is all about finding that balance of being grounded and light. Being strong and soft. Being open and safe. I have made a simple springtime practice that is suitable for any yogi—beginner or advanced, young or old, morning person or night person. The focus is to bring the elements of springtime into the physical body, and thus allowing the mind and spirit to also find more balanced and at ease with the season.
I have included a written script for the reading/writing learners and my typical, albeit silly, stick figures for the visual learners. I am not tech savvy enough for a video or recording for the kinesthetic or auditory learners, but maybe in the future! I recommend reading the script first, then looking at the stick figures as you move through your practice. Remember what resonated with you from the script, and simply let go of what did not. Most importantly, throughout this practice stay tethered to your breath.
“Breath is the bridge which connects life to consciousness, which unites your body to your thoughts. Whenever your mind becomes scattered, use your breath as the means to take hold of your mind again.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
- Seated Earth Meditation
Sit on the earth crossed legged or kneeling with one hand on your heart and the other touching the eart. Close your eyes. Bring your attention to your body and your breath. Allow your breath to be a bridge. A connection to your mind and your body. Your body and the earth. As you inhale imagine your breath coming up from the earth. As you exhale settle this breath into your heart. Take 10 breaths on your own noticing how it feels to focus on your physical body’s connection to the physical earth.
- Cat, Cow, & Child’s Pose with balanced breathing
Gently move forward onto hands and knees. Inhale into cow pose, allowing your heart to move forward between your shoulders and lifting your tail bone. Exhale into cat pose, allowing your back to round. Look back at your thighs and lift your navel towards your spine. Allow this curling action to bring you into child’s pose and rest your tail back towards your heel. Rest your forehead on the ground. Continue this movement with your breath. Move fluidly, seeing if you can cultivate an even breath allowing your inhale and exhale to be of equal length. Repeat for several minutes until you feel a sense of balance. Rhen rest in child’s pose for 3 breaths.
- Downward Facing Dog
From all fours, tuck your toes under, straighten your legs, and lift your hips up to the sky. Spread your fingers wide and ground down through your first finger and thumb. Firmly press into your hands, straighten your arms, and lengthen your spine. Reach your heels down towards the ground, but they do not have to touch. Legs are strong, but keep a soft bend in your knees. Find a sense of balance between lifting your hips and grounding through your arms and legs.
Inhal, look at your hands. Exhale, gently walk your feet up to your hands into ragdoll pose. Bend your knees generously, let your belly be soft and rest on your thighs. Grab opposite elbows. Let your head and shoulders feel heavy reaching towards the earth but keep your feet softly rooted. Take several moments here feeling stress and tension melt from your shoulders and neck into the ground. Keeping your knees bent, slowly come up to standing taking as many breaths as you need.
- Tree Pose
Stand on your right foot, turn out your left leg, and bring your left foot to your inner ankle, calf, or thigh. Reach your arms skyward. Feel two opposing actions: your foot pressing down towards the ground feeling strong and stable. Your arms reaching up to the sky feeling light and tall. Take 10 breaths in tree pose. Repeat standing on the left foot.
- 1/2 Sun Salutes feeling the earth
Stand tall with your feet rooted into the earth. Chose a stance that feels supported and strong. Line your feet up under your hips. Inhale, reach both arms up to the sky. Exhale, fold forward over your legs bending your knees as much as you need to touch the ground. Inhale, bring your hands to your shins and flatten your spine. Exhale, fold forward again. Inhale, press into your feet and come up to standing with a flat back reaching your arms skyward. Exhale, bring your hands to your heart. Repeat 3x. Transition: Repeat another 1/2 Sun Salutation but only halfway through. Step back to a plank when you are touching the ground the second time. Gently lower to your belly.
- Dynamic Locust (A)
Lay down on your belly with your arms stretch out above your head like superman. Exhale your air. Inhale lift up your right arm and left leg. Exhale lower. Inhale lift up your left arm and right leg. Exhale lower. Repeat 8x.
- Locust (B)
Reach your arms by your side, fingers pointing back towards toes. Exhale into the ground, inhale lift up head, neck shoulders, arms, and legs. Focus on lengthening fingers back towards toes and toes back to space behind you. Breath into your belly for 5 breaths. Lower on an exhale. Repeat 2x.
- Child’s pose.
Push your hips backs to your heels. Rest your forehead on the floor and feel your hands connected to the ground. Allow your belly to be soft. Feel supported by the earth. Take 5 breaths softening and settling.
- Seated Earth Meditation
Return to the position you began in seated on the earth crossed leg or kneeling with one hand on your heart and the other touching the earth. Close your eyes and bring your attention to your body and your breath. As you inhale imagine your breath coming up from the earth. As you exhale settle this breath into your heart, your body. Notice what has shifted since you were here earlier. What has changed during your practice? What has not changed? What do you still wish to change? Feel a deeper connection between your body and the earth. Your body and your mind. Your mind and your spirit. Take as many moments here noticing a deeper awareness and more balance. My wish is you can take these sensations with you as you move into the rest of your day feeling more rooted, rested, and rejuvenated. Namaste.
Love & Light,