When Science, Spirituality & Real Life Collide
Being Present; the best present.
Posture of the week: A partridge in a pear tree; vrikshasana (tree pose) with lotus mudra
Last week we started our festive yoga block of classes entitled: "The best present; being present". Due to "lockdown 2.0" we are having to find new & inventive ways to continue our practice together. Each week I will post a "posture of the week" for you to practice in your own time at home. Please report back with any thoughts/ feelings/insights with regards to the practice & feel free to post a picture on our social media pages/groups.
This week we will start our "12 postures of Christmas" beginning, of course, with a partridge in a pear tree aka tree pose with lotus mudra.
Image 1: A partridge in a pear tree; vrikshasana (tree pose) with lotus mudra. Tree pose helps to strengthen the legs, it also helps with grounding, stability security & balance. Lotus mudra helps to open up the chest & into the heart centre so enjoy some full yoga breaths here.
I recommend warming the body to begin with:
1. I invite you to start in supta baddha konasana (supine cobbler's pose) (see image 2, picture 1) with the soles of the feet together & the knees pressing out to the side. Tilt the chin towards the chest to create space in the back of the neck & move/tilt through the pelvis until your lower back feels comfortable. Close your eyes.
2. Scan your body from the crown of the head to the tips of the toes asking each area to release.
3. Take the awareness to the breath for a few moments. Its normal for the mind to want to wonder, don't worry if this happens, notice anything that pops up & guide the awareness back to the breath. Try to be completely mindful of the breath - noticing every part of the breath & every part of the body in response to the breath.
4.Start to make some mindful movements; roll the neck side to side, take the arms over head, stretch the legs out & circle the ankles; whatever is best for you & your body.
5. Extend one leg straight & keep one knee bent up with the sole of the foot resting against the ankle, calf or thigh (coming into a lying tree). Take the hands into anjali mudra (prayer) at the heart centre then separate the finger tips coming into lotus mudra. Hold the hands here or reach the arms overhead. Take some mindful breaths here then change sides.
6. Inhale taking the knees back together again. Take the heels in towards the bum, knees hip distance apart arms to the side of the body, palms up. Inhale & peel up into bridge (dwi pada pitham) & exhale & lower. Lift & lower with your own breath (see image 2, picture 2).
7. Stretch into the hamstrings (see image 2, picture 3). Keep the neck long, shoulders away from the ears & lower back planted into the mat.
8. If your neck/shoulders are tight you may wish to do some additional stretches of your choosing in a seated position here.
9. Rock & roll into all 4s & come into cat stretch (majariasana). Inhale, let the lower back dip, abs drop & chin lift. Exhale pull the abs up & under, press into the armpits, let the back arch & take the chin to the chest (see image 2, pictures 4 & 5). Repeat a few rounds with your own breath.
10. Lie prone with the legs in from hip distance. Take the elbows underneath the shoulders & the forearms parallel onto the mat. Inhale & lift into sphinx pose (salamba bhujangasana). Draw the shoulders away from the ears & take some breaths here (see image 2, picture 6).
11. Make your way into downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana) (see image 2, picture 7). If your hamstrings are tight pedal the heels towards the earth or keep the knees bent. Take some breaths here.
12. Walk the hands towards the feet with soft knees coming in to a standing forward bend (uttansana) (see image 2, picture 8). Keep the knees soft & hold for a few breaths.
13. As you inhale soften the knee & stack the vertebrae, lifting out nice & slowly into standing (tadasana)
14. You may wish to do some additional standing stretches her for example, warrior 2 or a standing wide-legged forward bend.
Image 2: Picture 1= lying cobblers pose. picture 2=bridge pose, picture 3=hamstring stretch, picture 4&5=cat stretch, picture 6=sphinx pose, picture 7=downward dog, picture 8=standing forward bend.
15. Come into tree pose. Root through your standing leg & take the raised foot into the ankle, calf or thigh. Use a point in front of you to help keep focus. Take the hands into anjali mudra (prayer) then separate the fingers into lotus mudra. Hold for a few breaths. You could experiment with taking the arms over head. Repeat on the opposite side.
16. Fold back into forward bend with the knees extra soft then walk back into downward dog, pedal the heels towards the earth.
17. Finish with some supine spinal twists or hugging the knees into the chest.
18. Come into a comfortable relaxation posture (lying in shavsana or with the knees bent up). Take a moment to notice the breath once more. Try to stay here, being completely mindful of the breath for a few minutes. Make some small movements before you come back to the room.
And there we have the first of our 12 days of Christmas!