We’ve been blessed with beautiful bright days and an unusually warm late September/early October, but make no mistake my friends, Winter Is Coming.
A wise man once said to me (as I winged about the chill in my bones) ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.” Irritatingly, I found he was right, and my pathetic bleats about the cold were silenced with the purchase of a very sensible and very warm winter coat.
We can keep ourselves warm, and internalise the sun’s heat on the yoga mat as well. Personally, I find a good few rounds of sun salutations followed by some floor based introspective poses helps to create the sense of nourishment and energy harvesting that I relish receiving from the sun in the warmer, brighter months.
For this month’s asana, I have selected Halasana/ Plough Pose. When you enter into the full pose your field of awareness is very much concentrated on your own body, the warmth of your own breath can be felt reflecting off the chest and thighs, and it almost feels as cozy as curling up next to a roaring fire (almost).
Warm the body thoroughly with several rounds of sun salutations, and move mindfully at all times, being cautious and receptive to any discomfort in the neck or spine. Please do not attempt this posture if you have an injury to those areas.
- Begin lying on the back with the knees facing up at the ceiling and the arms by the sides.
- Roll the hips up off the floor and bring the hands to support the spine (as in shoulder stand.)
- Wriggle the upper arms towards each other to provide a more stable support base.
- Begin to slowly lower the toes towards the ground behind the head.
- Once the toes touch the ground (or you can use blocks to bring the ground to the toes) focus on finding an even breath and gradually straightening the knees towards the ceiling.
- Keep encouraging the chest to broaden and the upper arms to move towards each other. If the feet reach the floor you can release the hands to the mat and interlace the fingers. Reach the knuckles away from you.
- The pose can feel a little constrictive at points, breath gently through these sensations, feeling a deep stretch to the back of the body, and a sense of inward contemplation as you fold in on your Self.
- To release, pick the toes back up and slightly bend the knees, release the arms to the mat and use them as breaks, gently engage to tummy muscles, and roll slowly down, one vertebrae at a time, eventually bringing the soles of the feet to the floor.
- Rest here for several deep breaths into the front of the body, feeling the heat disperse evenly into all extremities.
By Jasmine Pradhan from stretchandthecity.co.uk Jasmine teaches Hatha yoga (sometimes dynamic, sometimes slower) with an open heart and an open mind. She believes that every individual already has the tools they need to achieve true happiness and wellbeing, and that sometimes they just need a little help discovering them. She truly believes that a dedicated yoga practice can be the key to that toolbox, and aims to facilitate that discovery for her students.
Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any new physical activity. Always practice under the supervision of a qualified teacher.