I love this time of year--it holds, for me, the perfect balance. Not too hot, not too cold--just right. I can feel the familiar peace settle over me that settles over me every year and I think it's a lovely bundle of how I feel about the holidays, the family time and the weather of this season.
Hope--hope simmers inside me and contentment abounds.
As the air begins to chill, it is ever more important to prepare the body before a physical practice, building heat and establishing a strong sutra of breath along which the body moves, the mind meditates and expression unfolds.
Last night I led my students through a prana flow as our warm up and share it here:
Setu-Bhandasana (Bridge) Flow
- With the inhale, tuck the tail bone under, press into the feet and lift the hips--because we are cultivating prana, the rise should last the duration of the inhale and pause at the peak.
- With the exhale begin to lower the hips, again, riding the breath down.
I offered the option of adding the arms (with inhale they reach up and over the body to frame the head and with exhale lift and lower to beside the body) or keeping them grounded.
Supine Leg Lift Flow
- From your back w/arms grounded beside you, lift the legs, feet to the ceiling--inhale here.
- Exhale and begin to lower the straightened legs until they hover over the mat (without touching)
- Inhale and slowly lift them again, keeping a slight angle instead of coming all the way up to vertical really engages the core.
This flow not only marries movement to breath but builds warmth in the core that will radiate throughout the body.
- From table, inhale and lift the crown of the head and the tail toward the ceiling, pull the shoulders back and sink the heart as the back scoops out.
- Exhale, round the spine, tuck the tail and let the head gently drop.
Back and forth with breath will warm the spine, preparing it for more movement.