Spring is the season of renewal. All it takes is a quick look around and you will see leaves are returning to the branches of trees, flowers are blooming, and the days are getting longer. What has been lying dormant is now coming to life. The change of season is a beautiful opportunity to align with nature. Now is the time to emerge from the darkness of winter, feel the budding of new life, and restore your body and mind.
Tapping into the energy of the spring season can give you clarity about what you want to accomplish and how to get there. In order to make room for new ideas and fresh perspectives you have to clear some space by eliminating the physical and mental dross left behind by the winter months. This is the time to do some spring cleaning – in your body, in your home, and in the structure of your life. Creating organization and new habits now sets the tone for the abundance of the summer months ahead.
The following sequence is informed by Five Elements Theory, a Chinese philosophy that describes interactions and relationships between five main elements and their corresponding season. Spring corresponds with the wood element. Having been nurtured by water during the winter months, the energy of wood in spring is of emergence and growth. Wood has a gentle yet persistent power and is filled with creative potential. In the physical body we nourish the wood element by attending to the liver and gallbladder. It is believed that when the wood element is imbalanced we experience anger, frustration, and irritability. When wood is in harmony we feel connected to compassion, patience, kindness, and acceptance. A practice that incorporates gentle movement, twists, and side body, inner and outer hip opening is particularly beneficial. Try these six poses to jumpstart your own creative potential and harness the energy of spring.
Hold the first posture for 1 minute and each subsequent posture for 3 minutes. Practice with a slow and natural breath. Move through the postures in order repeating postures 2-5 on the other side before continuing on. Finish with a 5 minute savasana.
1. Toe Stretch
Toe stretch is a great way to begin as it stimulates the meridians in the feet. Start on all fours and curl your toes under. Take your seat back toward your heels. You can keep the hands on the mat if that is enough intensity or take your torso over your feet. Hold for 1 minute.
Start in a seated position and bring your right heel outside your left hip and bring your left leg over your right stacking your knees on top of one another. If this is too challenging take a cross legged position with the left shin in front.
3. Sleeping Swan
From shoelace keep your right leg forward and swing your left leg behind you. Prop up the left hip with a blanket or block if there is a lot of space underneath it. Gently bring your torso forward and support yourself with your forearms.
4. Half Dragonfly Side Bend
From sleeping swan place your left leg out at an angle and take the right foot to the left inner thigh. Lean your torso over your left leg resting your elbow on your shin or on a block. Sweep your right arm over your ear bending at the elbow and rest your hand behind your head.
From half dragonfly raise your torso and extend both legs as comfortably wide apart as you can. Place your hands in front of you and come forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your inner thighs.
From dragonfly bring the soles of your feet together placing them forward so that you create a diamond shape between your legs. Stay in an upright position or come forward to your comfort level.