Spring into our top 4 Dynamic Yoga Poses
As the trees blossom and the cleansing scent of eucalyptus fills the air, the magic of spring surrounds us. This is the time to be inspired, create a sense of renewal and clear the mind.
Spring means renewal
“The heart is like a garden. It can grow compassion or fear, resentment or love. What seeds will you plant there?”
Just like the flowers, you too can blossom this season. Where do you want to see yourself in 6 months’ time? Use the spring energy to challenge yourself. As we know, yoga is more than just an exercise for the body, it is also mind-play. When we challenge the body with yoga, we train the mind to be more resilient to life’s obstacles. Incorporating dynamic poses in your yoga practice can be a great way to introduce that sense of energy and clarity into your day to day life.
Be open to standing in your full potential, seeing not even the sky as a limit. The universe is constantly evolving and so are you. “Renewal requires opening yourself up to new ways of thinking and feeling”. You may even surprise yourself with what you can achieve! Even beginners will feel this change.
Declutter the mind
“Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behaviour. You are beneath the thinker. You are the stillness beneath the mental noise. You are the love and joy beneath the pain.”
When practising yoga, emotions can be released from the body. Often, they come so unexpectedly, making it difficult to make sense of them. Set the intention to release yourself from these hidden emotions before practice and surrender to your truth. Watch the mind and body as it works through the tensions. Decluttering the mind is like decluttering the home: one room at a time. And always, practice patience and kindness towards yourself.
Our 4 favourite dynamic yoga poses for spring
1. Trikonasana (Triangle pose): With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet around 1m apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down. Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel. Firm your thighs and turn your right thigh outward, so that the centre of the right kneecap is in line with the centre of the right ankle. Exhale and extend your torso to the right directly over the plane of the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist.
Anchor this movement by strengthening the left leg and pressing the outer heel firmly to the floor. Rotate the torso to the left, keeping the two sides equally long. Let the left hip come slightly forward and lengthen the tailbone toward the back heel. As well as stretching and strengthening the thighs, knees, and ankles, this pose stimulates the abdominal organs and improves digestion.
2. Ardha Chandrasana (Half-moon pose): From Trikonasana with your left hand resting on the left hip, inhale, bend your right knee, and slide your left foot about 20-30 centimetres (one foots worth) forward along the floor. At the same time, reach your right hand forward, beyond the little-toe side of the right foot. Exhale and press your right hand and heel firmly into the floor, and straighten your right leg, simultaneously lifting the left leg parallel to the floor. Use a block to rest your hand to help with balance.
Extend actively through the left heel to keep the raised leg strong. Be careful not to lock and so hyperextend the standing knee. Avoid turning the knee inwards and make sure the kneecap is aligned straight forward. When activated this pose strengthens the abdomen, ankles, thighs, buttocks, and spine.
3. Virabhadrasana III (Warrior 3): From mountain pose, step the right foot a foot length forward and shift all your weight onto this leg. As you exhale, lift the left leg up and out, hinging at the hips to lower the arms and torso down towards the floor. Look down at the floor and stare at a point for balance. Reach out through the left toes and the crown and fingers making one straight line.
Release the pose by inhaling the arms up to lower the leg back to the floor and step both feet together back into mountain pose before repeating the pose on the opposite side. As well as improving balance and posture, this pose will tone help tone the abdomen.
4. Natarajasana (Dancers pose): From mountain pose, inhale and shift your weight onto your right foot, lifting your left heel toward your left buttock as you bend the knee. Press the head of your right thigh bone back, deep into the hip joint, and activate the kneecap to keep the standing leg straight and strong. With your right hand around behind your back, catch hold of the inner left foot. Then sweep the left hand back and grab the outside of the left foot. Extend your hand to the front of the room and gaze past your index fingers. When practiced regularly, this pose can improve balance as well as strengthen legs and ankles.
If you’re interested in exploring how you can realign the mind with standing poses, read our Standing Pose blog.
Originally published in the Spring of 2019 but it’s still as relevant as ever
Written by Akosua (Charmaine) Abotchy
Charmaine is a traveling blogger from Manchester, UK and is passionate about social justice and holistic well-being. Aspiring to become a journalist and researcher, Charmaine is currently working on a scholarship to pursue her career.