May is a time of abundance and new birth, a time to appreciate and commemorate mothers and motherhood, a time to stop and smell the flowers and buds blooming all around us. In honor of the month of May, we present four yoga poses named for flowers.
1. Lotus (Padmasana)
Sit on the floor and cross your legs. Breathe in. Breathe out. When your hips begin to relax, switch legs for an equal amount of time. When you’re warmed up, try to place your feet on your thighs by your hips. Sit up tall so the top of your head reaches toward the sky. Bring your hands together in front of your heart or rest them on your legs with your palms up or down. Relax here, then spend an equal amount of time with the other leg on top.
2. Flowering Lotus (Vikasitakamalasana)
Unwind from Lotus Pose. Bend your knees and hold the backs of your thighs. Sit up super tall and try to lift your feet up but don’t rock the boat backwards in Boat Pose (Navasana.)
Gently bring the soles of your feet together. Thread your arms under your knees. Open your palms to the sky like a flower opening to the sun. Your body looks like a lotus flower floating on the water. Breathe deeply, focus on one point, and see how long you can balance.
3. Garland Pose (Malasana)
Stand up and take a few deep breaths. Slowly and with control squat down. See if you can keep your heels on the floor and your back straight. It’s also OK to let your heels lift if necessary for balance. Place your palms together in front of you and press your elbows and knees together. If you feel balanced, try bringing your palms together behind your back. Other arm variations are to stretch your arms out in front, to the sides or over your head. Breathe deeply, and on an exhale, stand up.
4. Bird of Paradise Pose (Svarga Dvidasana) L/R
Bird of Paradise is a challenging pose, but if your balance is good, it’s easier than it looks. After you’ve rested your legs, take a big step forward into a lunge. Bend your front knee so you can see your toes. Stretch your back leg straight behind you. Reach inside and under your bent leg with the same side arm, then reach the other arm behind you and clasp hands. Step your back foot forward into a squat and shift your weight to it. Breathe in and focus on one point. Breathe out and slowly stand up. Once you’re balanced, straighten your bound leg slowly like an opening flower. Balance & breathe before trying the other side.
May you enjoy the abundance of spring and appreciate all the mothers in your life, including Mother Earth. Breathe deeply… and smell the flowers! Namaste.
Images: Photos of K. Mae Copham by Robert Oakley.Coloring page from Yoga Teddy Bear’s Big Little Coloring Book of 108 Yoga Poses colored by Miss Michele Palumbo, Bay Shore, NY. Enter our coloring contest to win prizes.