I like to think of Winter as one long, very deep exhale. But now is the time for INhalation… spring is on the horizon.
This post is the first in a new mindfulness series by Nina Endrst.
Spring is here! After a long, cold winter, I for one am ready to welcome this light and airy season with open arms. I like to think of winter as one long, very deep exhale. It is absolutely necessary to go inward during this time and let ourselves rest and restore. Now it’s time to inhale. Spring breathes new life into us, reenergizes our spirit and encourages us to step out into the warm and nourishing glow of the sun.
My intention for this series is to invite in you a fresh perspective, while melting the tension in your mind, body and soul. Our first practice is dedicated to cultivating gratitude for all that you are at this very moment. Simple, straightforward – true appreciation for the body you live in, the thoughts in your head and the love in your heart.
Mantra: I am grateful for growth.
Downward Dog to Upward Facing Dog
Start in downward facing dog. Spread your fingers as wide as possible and press firmly into each knuckle as you lift up out of our wrist creases. Bend your knees and reach your sit bones to the sky as you let your heart melt towards the earth. Hold here for 10 breaths. Notice what comes up for you here… do you feel like you are meeting your edge? Try not to strive for anything outside of your current state. After 10 breaths on an inhale, come forward through plank to upward facing dog. Make sure your thighs are off the mat and your heart is shining forward. Let your gaze be soft and subtle and relax the cervical spine. Take 5 breathes before exhaling back to Downward dog. Repeat 5 times
Triangle to Warrior II (Hand on Heart)
From Downward Dog step your right foot forward on your inhale and place your back foot down on the mat. Make sure your front heel is aligned with the arch of your back foot. Straighten your front leg as you bend from your front hip crease. Place your right hand on your right shin and left arm behind your back. Lengthen your side body and widen across your collarbones. (Stay here for 10 breaths.) On the next exhale, bend the front knee deeply and place right hand on your heart as your left arm slides down back leg. Press into all four corners of your feet. Hold for 10 breaths in Warrior!! as you open your heart.
Goddess Squat to Extended Triangle
Stand with your feet parallel on your mat and bring your palms to touch, hands at your heart. On your exhale bend your knees deeply, inhale, straighten your legs, bend your elbows and open your heart as you lift your gaze slightly. Repeat 10 times, inhale straighten, exhale bend.
Wide Cobra Waves
From plank pose, lower all the way down to your belly. Bring your hands in line with your ribs and out about 6 inches. Come to fingertips and place your forehead down on the mat. On your inhale wave your head, neck, chest and shoulders off the mat. Be sure to press firmly into your legs and the tops of your feet so you don’t strain your lower back. Take a deep inhale up, exhale release. Repeat wavelike motion 5 times. Try not to be rigid here. Move in a way that feels good, making sure you are respectful of your body.
Lie flat on your belly with palms facing down and left or right cheek on the mat. Bend your knees and sway them side to side releasing the tension in your lower back. Breathe here for about 10 breath cycles and then rest in Savasana on your belly. Close your eyes and stay here for as long as you like.
Photo and GIFs by Matthew Johnson.