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Spring cleaning isn't just for your closets—your yoga practice needs a refresh, too, says Larissa Hall Carlson, co-leader of Yoga Journal's new online course, Ayurveda 101. "In the cool, rainy days of early spring, it’s important to light some fire and melt away congestion from excess kapha dosha with fiery, stimulating yoga postures," she explains. Here are three poses Carlson suggests incorporating into your regular practice or favorite sequence this spring. Warm up with 3–5 rounds of your favorite Sun Salutation, and use a robust Ujjayi pranayama throughout to ensure physical warmth and enhanced mental focus.
3 Poses to Spring Clean Your Yoga Practice
1. Dolphin Pose
The inversion of Dolphin Pose is excellent for draining mucus created by excess kapha dosha from the lungs, Carlson says. It's also great for building strength in the arms while opening up the ribcage. Hold for 6–10 long, deep breaths. Learn how to do Dolphin Pose.
2. Side Plank (Vasisthasana)
Side Plank ignites arm power while building core strength. Springtime is a good time to stoke the fire in the core, because it often gets dull during the transition from cold winter to rainy spring. Side Plank also helps boost the fire of metabolism, which helps reduce puffiness and water retention (common signs of excess kapha dosha). Sustain the pose for 10 long, deep breaths. Learn how to do Side Plank.
3. Revolved Chair Pose (Parivrtta Utkatasana)
Revolved Chair Pose works this lovely twist to wring out clutter and congestion in the abdominal region, while opening the chest (the lungs and the stomach are the seats of kapha and often feel bogged down during early spring). Go back and forth side to side three times per side, holding for three long, deep breaths on each side, like you're wringing out a sponge. Deepen your breath and enjoy the purifying heart! Learn how to do Revolved Chair Pose.