Halloween can be creepy and spooky, but it can also be lots of fun. Getting dressed up in a costume, taking the kids trick-or-treating or watching a scary movie are all ways to celebrate the death of the summer season and the darkening of the days. It’s also a good time to take a break from your normal routine and try these four fantastic yoga poses. They will keep your spine flexible, stretch your thighs, open up your hip joints, and help you relax deeply. Enjoy!
1. Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)
Boo! Have you ever seen a cat puff up when they are scared? Try it! Begin on all fours. Breathe in and lift your chin and tail. When you breathe out push your back upward like a cat. Look back at your belly button. You can even hiss to push all the air out of your tummy. You should look like a scaredy cat, or a cat just waking up from a nap. To warm up your back, time your breath with your back movements. Breathe in while lift your chin and tail, then breathe out all the way and curve your back like a cat. Keep going until your back feels warm and fuzzy.
2. Frog Pose (Bhekasana)
Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble! Forget about witches and goblins, Frog Pose is a fantastic way to stretch your thigh muscles or quadriceps. Lay on your tummy. Bend your knees so your feet touch your tail, or come close. Press on the top of your feet with the palms of your hands. Lift up your chest and breathe. Flex your leg muscles. Open up your ribcage in the front of your chest. Breathe deeply. Croak, croak!
3. Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)
Lizards may be slippery and slimy, but Lizard Pose is one of the best poses for opening up your hip joints. From all fours, step one foot forward to the outside of your hand. Stretch your other leg behind you with your toes curled under in a wide lunge. Bring both hands to the floor inside your bent leg. If it feels nice, rest on your forearms like a lizard resting on a rock. Keep your back straight. Breathe in and lift your head and chest slightly. Breathe out and gently press your hips toward the floor. Take 8 deep breaths on this side, then switch legs so you stretch the other side too.
4. Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Ah, death… the final and most complete form of rest thus far discovered by the living. It’s something none of us like to think about, but all of us have to find our peace with. Corpse Pose is our path to practice. It is the way most yogis relax and reflect after practicing yoga. It’s a great way to focus on being still and quiet as you pay attention to your breathing. Lay comfortably on your back. Separate your legs and let your feet flop open. Relax your arms next to your body. Separate your teeth and relax your jaw. Close your eyes. Can you feel the tiny space between your eyelid and eyeball? Notice all the little things you feel in your body.
Pretend to be dead but keep breathing! Breathe slowly and deeply. Feel the air flowing gently past your nostrils. Breath is the one gift we so often take for granted, but without it we would not be alive. Stay here until you feel totally relaxed.
Whatever you do this Halloween, be sure to make doing yoga part of your plans. It’s a great way to slow down, tune in to your body, focus on your breathing and just take a break from everything you have going on. Happy Halloween!