As human beings, we have a tendency to think we are in control of our environment, our destiny and our overall lives: and then Mother Nature hits us with a reminder that we are in fact not in charge of anything that happens to or around us.
This past winter has been one of the worst that Boston, Massachusetts has seen and has forced myself and many of its residents to be forced into a surrender, or a mandatory savasana. Everyone is being pushed into slower driving, traffic and public transportation delays as well as the general discomfort of cancelations and rescheduling of various events. We are under the control of the weather and need to sit back to watch, observe and obey these new laws set out for us to follow.
In a society that runs on hyper drive, this is not easy. Boston is a fast-paced city that enjoys moving their bodies and walking 3 miles in 7 foot snowbanks for a cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee. We are hard and resilient, but even we are beginning to feel the discomfort of winter.
Each of my classes these past few weeks have been focused on the idea of LIGHT. Feeling light in our bodies, feeling a spring in our step and remembering the word hope. Being stuck between the idea of survival and surrender can take a huge toll on the body. Even if you’re not living in this lovely snow covered state of Massachusetts, you may enjoy some of these delicious winter poses to ease your body back into the light.
This balance pose is wonderful for the wintertime and hits all of our “problem areas.” The hips are forced open after sitting in our office chair all day long and our shoulders are creating a beautiful release after all that wintertime shoveling. Find a drishti or concentration spot and continue to breathe. I oftentimes hear yogis holding their breath and remind them that the breath will help ease them into the pose and balance will begin to come more naturally.
Pick one, pick them all. Backbends help to release any physical aliment in your back, but also helps to release your emotions. Being stuck inside, in traffic and at the mercy of Mother Nature can be draining and taxing on your soul. By allowing yourself to open your heart and release any emotions that are no longer serving you, you’ll come into the rest of practice with grace, love and light.
3. Hip Openers
Half pigeon (eka pada kapotasana), frog, lizard, galavasana (flying or balanced pigeon) and more! Take your pick, just like the backbends, any one will do. Hip openers are wonderful for releasing the tension of sitting in our chairs and cars all day long, but they are also amazing for releasing emotional tension. Our second chakra is located within the hips and controls past relationships, intimacy, creativity, fertility, new ideas and passion. Should you find yourself gritting your teeth and thinking cruel words towards you yoga teacher, or on the verge of tears, please know that this is perfectly normal. You’re releasing any emotions that no longer serve you (and oftentimes are emotions you’ve been hiding and harboring in those hips for years). Live, flow and let go. Allow yourself to surrender deeply in your hip opener and receive the full benefit of release.
4. Neck Rolls or Neck Stretches
Whenever a yoga teacher kindly asks if you have any requests, this is where you should speak up! The neck often gets neglected in class and is a beautiful place for release. Connected to those pesky shoveling shoulders, this release will make you feel lighten in a matter of minutes.
Get on your mat, in the studio or at home and try incorporating some of these asanas into your routine. Allow yourself the opportunity to release physical and emotional energy and bring a little bit of light and hope back into your world. Spring is on its way yogis, I promise it will come as it does every year. We will make it through this survival and surrender balance and with the help of some of these asanas, maybe we will do so with a little bit more ease.