Ayurveda

Detox This Spring with a Challenging Kapha-Balancing Yoga Flow

Supercharge your spring with this fun, Ayurveda-informed, fitness-inspired sequence for finding strength, endurance, and a fresh start.

It’s still spring, known as kapha season in Ayurveda. The earth feels heavy and damp with moisture. Our bodies and spirits sense a natural opportunity to use this accumulated energy to fuel a clear and fresh reboot. This is an ideal time to lighten things up and rid ourselves of any lingering imbalances. Spring is also the perfect time to ramp up your yoga routine. Once kapha is energized, it brings great strength and endurance. 

Feeling resistant to getting moving? Know that doing so will turn into exhilaration and uplifted energy, and a renewed sense of joy and inspiration. Start with this kapha-balancing sequence with Michelle Briks Prosper, creator of Ohra Yoga in Westchester, New York. The moves and the dynamic add-on options she shares will help you feel clean and clear so you can truly celebrate the gifts this season has to offer.

Utkatasana (Chair Pose) with Arm Swings

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Bend your knees and sit your hips back. Lift your arms to frame your face as you elevate and brighten your chest. Spin your pinky fingers in. Draw your pubic bone toward your belly button.

Now, add dynamic arm swings: Inhale and rise to stand. Exhale and re-bend your knees into Utkatasana as you swing your arms to the right. Inhale and rise to stand. Exhale and return to Utkatasana a you swing your arms to the left. Repeat 3 times per side.

Level-up option: Utkatasana Prayer twist to each side. Hold for 5 breaths per side. 

See also: Master Chair Pose in 4 Steps

Plank Pose with Knee Hovers

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Align your shoulders over your wrists. Engage your core by drawing your pubic bone toward your belly button. Spread your shoulder blades slightly. Send energy through your heels.

Level up option: Bend your knees to hover a few inches above the mat, then press your heels back and straighten your legs. Repeat 3 times.

Sensitive wrists? Try this yoga wedge when you are working in Plank Pose. 

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose)

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Place your hands shoulder-distance apart with your fingers spread. Root energy through your index finger knuckles. Have your feet inner hip-distance apart as you lift your hips up and back to create an inverted ‘V’ shape with your body. Press through your hands to increase the space under your armpits. Knit your front ribs in. Align your biceps with your ears. You can bend your knees if your hamstrings feel tight. 

See also: 3 Ways to Make Downward Dog Feel Better

Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)

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Place your front knee over your front ankle and stay active through your back heel. Inhale and lift your heart forward. Exhale and lengthen your front leg, drawing your front hip back.

To add dynamic stretching, inhale to Low Lunge, then exhale and straighten both legs as you fold your torso over your front leg. Repeat 3 times.

Level up option: Hop switch the feet 4 times, ending with your right foot forward.

Try using these blocks to bring the floor to you in this pose and in other forward folds.

High Lunge Variation

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Place your feet on 2 separate lines, as if they are on parallel tracks. Align your front knee over your front ankle and bend your back knee for stability. Lengthen your lower back. Move into a backbend with cactus arms, shoulder blades drawn together, elbows drawn down. Inhale and lift your heart. Then exhale and melt back. Hold for 3 breaths.

See also: How to Make Backbends More Enjoyable

Skandasana (Pose Dedicated to the God of War) Variation

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From a wide-legged stance, bend your left knee over your ankle, and send your hips back. Shift your body weight so that you are standing on your right leg. Lift your left knee to hip height. (To do this, draw in through your core and bend your standing knee in transition). Return to Skandasana with your left knee bent. Repeat this transition 3 times.

This sticky yoga mat can help you find more stability in these shapes.

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose) Variation

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Using your right leg as your standing leg, micro-bend your right knee. Now lift your left knee to hip height. Bring your right hand to the outside of your bent knee, creating a twist in your torso. Engage your core as your left hand reaches behind you.

Level up option: Extend your lifted leg and hold the outer blade of your aerial foot with the opposite hand. 

See also 3 Ways to Modify Extended Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose

High Lunge Variation

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Stack your front knee over front your ankle, and slightly bend your back knee. Inhale and lift your arms up to frame your face in High Lunge. 

To add dynamic movement, inhale your arms up to frame your face. Exhale and open your torso into a twist toward your front knee. Your arms are in a “T” shape, palms facing up. Inhale and return to High Lunge. Repeat 3 times.

Level up option: hold your last rep in High Lunge Prayer Twist with your elbow outside of your front thigh. 

See also Master High Lunge in 6 Steps

Camatkarasana (Wild Thing Pose)

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Start in Plank Pose, and lift your left leg to hip height. Bend your left knee and flex your foot toward the ceiling. Step your left foot behind your right leg. Lift your left arm and reach it alongside your top ear. Return to one-legged Plank.

See also Your 7-Step Guide to Experiencing Wild Thing

Fallen Star Pose

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From one-legged Plank Pose, bring your left knee across to your right tricep. Extend your left leg outside mat, releasing your left foot to the floor. Spin to the inner blade of your back foot, and lift your right arm to sky, elongating your side body. 

Level up option: Transition from Rockstar to Fallen Star. Repeat 3 times. 

See also A Side Bending Sequence by Tias Little

Chaturanga Dandasana (Four-Limbed Staff Pose) Variation

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From Plank Pose, wrap your elbows in toward your midline. Lower your shoulders to elbow height. Keep Plank in your spine as you lengthen your chest forward.

Level up option: Press up from Chaturanga to Plank. Repeat 3 times.

Repeat poses 3-10 on the other side. 

Use this personal yoga towel to soak up the sweat from this challenging sequence. 

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See also 10 Things Only Kaphas Will Understand