Sunday, March 13, 2016

Seeing Green, Being Green

Spring is upon us.  We are turning the clocks forward, donning green for St. Patrick’s Day, and plants everywhere are beginning to bud.  March is the month of spring.  It’s the month of the Vernal Equinox, when our days become longer, warmer and brighter. 

For our first blog of spring, we’ve chosen four seated poses and the color GREEN to help connect you with the earth.  On a warm sunny day, try doing these poses outside on the greening grass.  Breathe deeply and you’ll practically be able to smell the color green. What better way to celebrate the beginning of spring than to run your fingers through a patch of grass, listen to the birds sing, and try some gentle yoga poses?  (Of course, you’ll also benefit by simply doing them on the floor at home.)

1.  Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)

We picked this one because an adorable visitor to our pop up shop last year summer colored this page, giving Yoga Teddy Bear a green face.  Plus, what better representative of spring than butterflies?  Sit on the ground and hold the soles of your feet together with your hands.  Incidentally, Butterfly Pose is officially translated as Bound Angle Pose, and it’s also known as Cobbler’s Pose – both due to the fact that you bend your knees to press the soles of your feet together. Your legs are spread like butterfly wings which is why kids like to call it Butterfly Pose.  Sit up straight and breathe in deeply.  Breathe out and press your heels together.  Notice how your knees naturally relax down. 

2.  Turtle Pose (Kurmasana)
Kermit the Frog once quipped “It ain’t easy being green,” but Kurma the Turtle thinks there is nothing better! From Butterfly Pose, release your feet and spread your legs apart.  Slide your hands on the ground under your knees and reach toward the back while you fold forward.  Your palms face down and your fingers point toward the back.  You’ll look like a turtle hiding in your shell.  Relax your head on the floor if you’re flexible enough and it feels nice.  Take long, deep breaths.

3.  Grasshopper / Locust Pose (Shalabhasana)
For Grasshopper (or technically Locust) Pose, lay on your belly with your arms at your sides and your forehead on the ground.  Smell the green grass for a while in this humble prone position.  After your next full exhale, inhale and flex your tummy to lift your arms by squeezing your shoulder blades together.  Use all your muscles to lift your chest and your legs like a grasshopper leaping through the air.  This pose is a fantastic way to strengthen your back and ultimately reduce back pain.

4.  Sandwich Pose (Paschimottanasana)
A sandwich may not be green, but the ones we like have lots of greens in them!  From a seated position, bend your knees until you can grab your feet and rest your tummy on your thighs. Wiggle your tail back until your legs get as straight as they will go.  Let your head hang gently and breathe deeply.  Your body is folded in half like a big sandwich in this pose, allowing your back and hamstrings to stretch and release tension.

Why not try welcoming spring with this easy and relaxing sequence?  We think you’ll enjoy it, and your body will too!  Remember to always breathe deeply and only do as much as your body can do today.  Yoga isn’t a competition, it’s a way to get in touch with our physical selves and open up the areas in our bodies where we hold tension, fear and stress.  

Namaste from Yoga Teddy Bear, and happy GREEN spring!