Yoga teacher Amy E. Landry shares a practice that reflects the change of season, with grounding poses that warm you internally.
This pose creates immense warmth throughout the body, particularly the legs; breathe steadily through the nose to support its grounding qualities.
Stand with feet together. Slowly bend knees, as though you’re about to sit into a chair. Ground the weight back into your heels. Sweep arms forward and overhead, extending fingertips towards the sky. Encourage your tailbone to lengthen downward, gently drawing navel to spine. Hold for 3-5 breaths, release and repeat.
Adho Mukha Svanasana
This well known gentle inversion, Downward Facing Dog, is great for stimulating the lymphatic system, which can be stagnant during winter.
Begin on hands and knees. Spread fingers wide, with hands shoulder-width apart. Tuck your toes and lift knees off the ground, extending the legs. Knees can remain softly bent if shoulders or lower back are tight. Relax the neck, and gaze between your toes. Hug the armpits inward and gently press your sternum toward your toes. Remain for 3-6 breaths, then release.
A challenging pose, this high plank position creates strength and heat within the abdomen, helping to stoke the digestive fire! Modify by placing the knees on the ground.
Begin from hands and knees or from Downward Facing Dog pose. Stack shoulders over your wrists, ensuring fingers are spread wide to distribute your weight. Hug armpits inward and broaden collarbones. Keeping toes tucked, extend the legs by raising your knees. Strongly engage your legs while drawing navel toward spine to stabilise the abdomen: both actions help take the load off your arms slightly. Keep the tailbone lengthened down toward the heels to protect the spine. Remain for 3-5 breaths, then release.
In the yoga system, backbends like this Cobra pose are both heating and grounding. This option is gentle on the lower back when performed patiently.
Lie on your stomach. Place hands, with spread fingers, underneath your shoulders. Retract shoulder blades and hug elbows inward. Broaden collarbones, then press into your hands and slowly lift the head and chest up while keeping the pelvis and lower belly on the ground. Spread the sternum wide and keep the back of your neck extended to avoid compression. Guide the tailbone downward to lengthen the lower back. Gently activate both legs, and press the tops of your feet down. Stay for 3 breaths, then release and repeat.
Urdhva Prasarita Padasana
Creating a strong inner warmth, this pose strengthens and stabilises the entire abdominal region, which also supports the digestive system.
Lie on your back, legs together. Bend both knees, then shoot the legs upward so they’re perpendicular to the ground. Extend both arms actively overhead. On an inhalation, and strongly drawing the navel toward spine, lower both legs toward the ground - but without touching down! On your next exhalation start to slowly raise both legs back to the sky, again keeping the navel drawn to spine. Be sure to maintain length along the back of your neck the entire time. Repeat for 3-6 rounds. To modify this pose, you can bend the knees or lower one leg at a time.
Visit Amy at www.amyelandry.com