Whatever it is you’re experiencing, face your pain, stress or trepidation head-on through yoga…
It’s the year of the Fire Monkey, which means we’re all in for big changes (Donald, Bernie, and Hillary can attest to that)! Whether you’re starting a new job, enduring a painful breakup or, like me, generally struggling with anxiety, we all could use some emotional rescue right about now. Whatever it is you’re experiencing, I encourage you to face your pain, stress or trepidation head-on. Take yourself outside into the sun (that vitamin D works wonders right down to the bones!) and allow your emotions to wash over you. I can promise you that through these practices you will find strength, perspective, innovation and empowerment. Go you!
Warrior II & Radiant Warrior
Begin building fire and power in warrior two. Keep a wide stance and a relaxed gaze. Challenge yourself to stay in this pose for 6 full breaths, picturing white light as you breathe in, and muddy water as you breathe out. Feel strength in your hips, and keep your back leg fired up. Move into radiant warrior for an empowering backbend, keeping your front knee bent low and reaching back. For a variation, move into side angle, reaching far forward before placing your front hand on the floor, then back to warrior two for a few reps — and boy, you’ll feel this in your front quad! In all three poses, find plenty of length along your sides.
Toe Touches in Side Plank
Get out of your funk with energizing interval exercises in side plank. Make sure your wrist and shoulder are perfectly aligned, and keep your hips lifted and inner thighs squeezing toward your mid-line. Lift your top leg and bring it forward, touching your toes for ten reps. Move through plank to go to your opposite side. I’ve shown a variation from your knee here; work at your strength level to avoid injury and you’ll slowly build up to the more advanced poses.
Pigeon is a beautifully healing pose because emotional tension tends to build up in your hips. When you stretch this stagnant area, you’ll feel an incredible release of emotion. Yup, I’ve been caught crying in this pose! Make sure your hips are exactly level with the ground, your front foot is flexed to protect your knee, and create a long, straight line from your back leg all the way through the top of your spine. Breathe deeply, letting go of any tightness you feel throughout your body.
*Coming out of this, go back into one-legged down dog and circle your knee a few times before putting weight on your newly loose hip.*
Stay strong and keep your ujjayi breath going! From down dog, raise your right leg and open your hips on top of each other, lifting through your knee to feel a stretch all the way through your quad and hip flexor (feels good after all those warriors, right?!). If you can, flip all the way over for a backbend, lifting your hips as high as you can. Keep a radiant, open heart in this pose. Move back into downward dog slowly, then switch sides.
+ What is your emotional rescue?