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The season is changing…and we are changing along with it. Spring coaxes us out of our winter hibernation, reawakens us to life, gives us a chance to take a deep breath, and opens our senses to the beauty around us. The beginning of the astrological year, the Spring Equinox on March 20, brings day and night into perfect balance, invites light back into everyday life, and reminds us to be present to the simple pleasures. There is no better time to welcome yourself back and, at the same time, to initiate a new start.
As the sun illuminates more of our day, our bodies become more awake. Spring softens the edges of change and reminds us to renew, rebalance, and rejuvenate. So does our yoga practice when we let it show us our strength, balance, and vitality. The outdoors is inviting us to play. Listen to that. Light is medicine.
A spring equinox yoga practice
This spring equinox yoga practice will remind you of your child-like spirit, help twist out any stagnant energies, and bring openness to your body and mind. Before you begin, take the time to pause. Close your eyes. Find your breath by taking a long slow inhale and then let out a long “ha” sound through your mouth as you exhale it out. Strengthen from your core, draw yourself to your center, let yourself come fully into the present, where the power and energy for transformation exists. Stay with this breath for three cycles.
Come to Downward-Facing Dog Pose. Step your right foot forward, alongside your right thumb, into a lunge. Come onto your fingertips and reach your chest forward over your thigh as you draw your right hip slightly back. Press through your left heel and, as you inhale, lift with your heart and rise into High Lunge. Bring your arms alongside your ears and, if you like, bring your palms to touch in prayer hands. Draw your arms a little further back and feel that openness come. Press through your back heel and, if you need, keep a bend in the back knee.
From High Lunge, fly your hands behind you with your arms alongside your body. Slowly lean forward and bring your chest parallel to the ground. Hover over your front thigh, draw your navel in, and ground down through your front heel. Lift your back leg and come into Warrior III. Level your hips, engage your low belly, lift your inner thigh, and flex your lifted foot. Stay strong in the pose.
Parsva Utkatasana (Twisted Chair Pose or Fierce Pose)
From Warrior III, bring your hands to your heart, draw your chin in slightly toward your chest, and slowly step your left foot to meet your right and bend both knees to come into Utkatasana (Chair Pose) with your big toes together and your heels slightly apart. Bring your hands to prayer position at the heart. Lift your toes, get grounded through your heels, and then gently release your toes back down. Inhale and lift your chest, exhale and twist to the right, placing your left elbow outside your upper right knee and press your arm into your leg to rotate the chest open. Sink your hips toward your heels.
If you like, keep your left elbow hooked and reach your right arm up as you place your left hand at your heart.
From Twisted Chair, unwind and bring your hands back to your chest. Take one full inhalation and exhalation in Chair and then fold forward and straighten your legs, shaking out your legs a little. Bend your knees more to come into Malasana (Squat or Garland Pose) with your feet together and your knees wide. Place your hands shoulder-width apart, pressing firmly through your palms and making a full connection with the ground. Come onto your tiptoes and bend your elbows slightly, as you would in Chaturanga, as you place your knees on the backside of your upper arms. Lean forward as you push the ground away with your feet, lifting one foot and then the other off the ground and hugging your heels toward your seat. Keep pushing the mat away through your hands. Round a bit in your upper back. Take your gaze down and slightly forward.
From Twisted Chair, unwind and bring your hands back to your chest. Take one full inhalation and exhalation in Chair and then fold forward and straighten your legs, shaking out your legs a little. Bend your knees more to come into Malasana (Squat or Garland Pose). Twist to bring your chest to face the long side of your mat. Inhale and reach your left arm up, exhale and twist to the right. Bring both hands to the ground outside of your right foot, shoulder-width apart. Spread your fingers evenly on the mat and slowly shift your chest forward as you bend your elbows. and place your outer right thigh on the shelf of your upper arm, twist deeper, and press into the mat as you lean into the right arm and lift your back foot off the ground, keeping the feet flexed and stacked on top of each other. Hold for 3–5 steady breaths and release your feet to the ground.
From Crow or Side Crow Pose, come down slowly, step back to Plank, lower halfway in Chaturanga while drawing your elbows in, come into Upward-Facing Dog Pose, and back to Downward-Facing Dog Pose. Lift your left leg behind you and repeat the above poses on the left side.
Breath of Joy
Come to standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with your feet hip-width apart. Grounding and rooting into the feet, draw the tailbone down, engage the low belly, and feel the sternum and crown lift as you draw your chin back slightly. Inhale one third of the way as you lift your arms out in front of you, parallel to the ground. As you inhale a third of the way again, stretch your arms like a T. On your next inhale, lift your arms alongside your ears and then sweep your arms back like a diver as you fold forward and exhale out the word, “ha.” Repeat 8 times. Pause and rest after feeling the energy shift and settle.
Lie down in Savasana or sit in meditation for 5 minutes. Let yourself receive insights, restoration, and balance within and without.
About our contributor
Tara Martell is a believer, spiritual mentor, energy medicine woman, intuitive, visionary, life coach, writer, master teacher, mom, yoga teacher, and yoga teacher-trainer. She has mentored numerous yoga students and teachers, co-wrote a yoga teacher training manual, and led international yoga retreats. She has spent the last two decades seeking, finding, and healing herself through yoga, spiritual work, and self-study. Follow her on Instagram @tt_1love.