Spring Cleaning Flow
Ready to clean without Clorox?!?
Celebrate the spring equinox with this sequence to clear out what isn't serving you in your life anymore and make room for what will.
Spring cleaning is not just reserved for your closets! It can be done with whatever in your life needs removed or changed. Spring is characterized by blooming flowers and also associated with a fresh start. In yoga, it is the perfect time to de-clutter, craft intentions, connect with your space, and create a more empowered and centered self.
Increased Spinal Rotation
Reduction in Back Pain
The 12-pose moving meditation below will help you transition from winter to spring and allow you to focus on the present moment. There is a lot of twisting, core work, balance, and an ending meditation. Feel free to incorporate sun salutations to enhance the flow.
From a kneeling position, bring the big toes together and separate the knees wider than the torso. Fold forward from the crease of the hips, placing the forehead on the floor. Place the arms by the sides or extend them forward with the palms facing down, and drop the hips back toward the heels. Close the eyes and breathe into the low back and belly.
From Down Dog, step the right foot forward and lower the left knee down to the mat, sliding the knee behind the hip. Interlace the fingers on the front knee and straighten the arms to lift the chest. If the posture feels steady and secure, sweep the arms overhead, bringing the biceps toward the ears, as you reach up through the sides of the waist. The hands can remain shoulder-distance apart as the pinkie fingers spin toward each other or the palms can press together overhead. Continue wrapping the outer arms forward to hollow out the armpits.
Lunging Prayer Twist/Parivrtta Anjaneyasana
From Downward-Facing Dog, step the right foot forward, staying on the back toes. On an inhale, rise to Crescent Lunge. As you exhale, bring the hands to the heart in Anjali Mudra. Pressing the palms together in a prayer position, twist the torso toward the front thigh using the side obliques to deepen the twist. Maintaining spinal length, lean forward, placing the opposite elbow to the outside edge of the front knee. Stack the elbows directly on top of each other, creating a clear, open line of energy. Actively press down with the top hand while sliding the bottom elbow to the outside edge of the knee. Actively press up with the bottom hand to lengthen the bottom ribs and create more space for the breath. Rotate the sternum while stacking the shoulders and continuing to square the hips forward to create a detoxifying twist. Draw the shoulders down the back and rotate the gaze over the top elbow.
Twisting Triangle/Parivrtta Trikonasana
From Down Dog, step the left foot forward. Then step the right foot in a third of the way, straighten both legs and fold forward. On an inhale, lift halfway with a flat back, gazing forward, and float the hands to the hips. Pause on the exhale and feel the lift of the belly. On the inhale, lift both the torso and the right arm to the sky. On the exhale, lean out halfway, extending the right arm forward to the top of the mat. Begin to twist toward the front thigh while maintaining length in the spine. Place the right hand to the outside edge of the left foot or on a block to the outside or inside of the foot. Reach the left arm toward the sky, stacking the shoulders without losing the squaring of the hips. Hug the inner thighs toward each other and keep both legs straight, though if you tend to hyperextend, you might opt to slightly bend the front knee. Stand firmly into the back foot and continue to rotate the torso inward, as you draw the crown of the head forward, elongating the spine.
Twisting Half Moon/Parivrtta Ardha Chandrasana
From Twisting Triangle, fold over the front leg placing both hands onto the floor or two blocks. Next, shift your weight forward onto your front left foot and lift your back left leg off the ground parallel to the floor. Place the right fingertips on the mat directly under the right shoulder. Rotate the chest toward the left as the left fingertips reach for the sky. If the spine is not parallel to the mat, place a block under the right hand to lengthen the spine. Firm the standing leg and continue to draw the standing hip in toward the midline. Point the toes and knee of the standing leg directly ahead to keep the knee safe. Flex the foot of the lifted leg and point the toes toward the mat. Draw the shoulder blades away from the ears and lengthen the neck, stacking the top arm directly on top of the bottom arm to create one line of energy.
***Note: I did not have a block handy, so you can see that my pose is not perfect.
With the forearms pressing down into the mat, reach the fingers forward and ground the palms into the floor. There should be a straight line from the middle finger to the elbow. Draw the chest forward, spread the collarbones wide, and slide the shoulders down the back as the shoulder blades press into the back and widen away from the spine. Draw the lower belly up and draw the front ribs down toward the frontal hip points. With the feet hip-width apart, send energy out through the heels. As you gaze directly beyond the fingertips, keep the neck long and the cervical spine in line with the rest of the spine.
Flying Splits/Eka Pada Koundinyasana I
Bring the left knee to the right arm above the elbow, creating a twist. Gaze ahead, widen the collarbones and keep the shoulders even. Shift the weight forward and, as the elbows bend, rest the outer thigh of the lifted leg above the opposite elbow. Continue shifting the weight forward and float the back leg off of the floor while contracting the abdominals. Keep the shoulders lifted the same height as the elbows. Straighten the bottom leg toward the side.
Bring the knees and big toes close together and bend the knees. Relax the glute muscles as the heels come toward the sitting bones. Grasp the ankles as the feet flex. Roll the shoulders back, expand the breath into the upper chest, and lift the front body. Don’t throw the head back; lengthen the back of the neck as the crown of the head reaches toward the sky. Lift the knees from the floor and press the shins toward the back of the room. With the ankles pressing into the hands, bring the big toes and knees hip-width apart and press the feet toward the ceiling.
Seated Twist/Parivrtta Sukhasana
Cross the right shin in front of the left for Sukhasana, sitting on a block or the edge of a folded blanket for support. Place the left hand directly behind the sacrum and lengthen the spine. Place the right hand on the left knee and roll the shoulders back and down. Draw the right hip back so that both hips point directly forward. Shift the gaze over either the front or back shoulder, keeping the chin parallel to the floor, depending on what feels better for your neck.
Bend the left knee and place the sole of the foot flat to the floor, aligning the heel with the right sitting bone. Flex the right foot and draw the right femur into the hip socket to ensure the two frontal hip points face forward. Place the left hand on the floor a few inches behind the tailbone to maintain stability and length in the back body. Sweep the right arm toward the sky, lengthening through the right side. Spin the chest toward the right knee while ensuring the hip points face the front of the mat. Bend the right elbow and place it to the outside of the left knee. Roll the left shoulder back and gaze over it, keeping the chin parallel to the floor. Draw the belly toward the spine and soften the shoulders down the back.
Seated Forward Fold/Paschimottanasana
Fold forward from the crease of the hips. Grasp the outside edges of the feet. Flex the feet. Draw the pinky toe side of the foot toward the face as the inner arch of the foot presses slightly forward. Send energy out through the heels, keeping the legs active throughout the pose. Draw the heart forward and elongate the spine. Bow the forehead down, keeping the cervical spine in line with the rest of the spine.
Roll onto the back and hug the knees into the chest. Place the feet hip-distance apart on the floor. Beginning in Supported Bridge Pose with the block on the lowest or medium height, float the knees to the chest and lift both legs toward the sky. Bend the knees and allow them to fall and frame the ears. With the arms by the sides and the back of the head resting on the floor, move the chin slightly away from the heart to maintain a curve through the cervical spine.
Mini-meditation: "Who you really are, on the most basic level, in your own direct experience, is simple present-moment awareness. And the essential true nature of this awareness is itself happiness, peach and pure bliss." - Franci Bennett, I Am That I Am