Over the holidays you posted all your photos
(you, my Canadian friends)
of cities iced over and trees
pregnant with the weight of new snow.
Here, Christmas came and went
without feeling like Christmas at all,
and I wished to be where you are.
But today, I'm thankful for sunshine
and the aftersmell of rain, and the certitude
of being exactly where I'm supposed to be.
Any way you like. Get quiet.
Start by simply cultivating an awareness of your breath. Find a slower, deeper rhythm of breathing. Do a few rounds of nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) and/or kapalabhati (breath of fire), if you feel comfortable leading yourself through these techniques.
3. wake up your spine.
Come to all fours.
a) Move through several rounds of cat and cow.
b) Bring the spine back to neutral. Extend your right arm forward and your left leg back, parallel to the floor. Rotate the left thigh slightly inward so that the toes point straight down to the floor. Inhale to extend forward through the right finger tips and back through the left heel, exhale to pull your right elbow and left knee into your chest as you round the back. Repeat several times, hugging the navel into the low spine with each exhale. Switch sides.
4. wake up your heart.
Sun salutations: whatever variation brings you joy. Repeat until you're warm, and maybe a little bit sweaty.
5. core flow.
a) Come into a low plank with the forearms on the floor. Make sure your elbows are aligned under your shoulders and your hips are no higher than your head. Hold, hugging the belly into the spine and reaching your tailbone towards your heels.
b) Transition to dolphin pose, stepping the feet in closer and pushing your hips up and back. Keep pressing into the forearms to lift the shoulders away from the floor and lengthen the spine. Lift one leg straight up and back, reaching as high as you can while keeping the hips square. Hold for a few breaths, and then switch sides.
Transition from a) to b) several times.
c) Come back down to your knees and place a block between your elbows, so the the elbows snuggle against the short edges of the block (if you don't have a block, just use your imagination). First, feel your weight through your whole forearm. Then, transfer your weight to your hands. Keep hugging your elbows into the block as you straighten up the arms into downward dog (ideally the block comes with you!). Still hugging the block, bend the elbows at the same rate to come back down to dolphin pose. Repeat repeat repeat.
6. go up.
Forearm balance! If you're unsteady in this pose, bring the top edge of your mat against a wall.
Come into dolphin pose, holding your gaze to the floor between your arms. Walk the feet as close in as you can, pressing into the forearms to maintain length in the spine. Lift one leg up and back, reaching as high as you can through the ball of the foot (hips stay square!). Gently bend the knee of your grounded leg. Still pressing through the forearms, hug the belly into the low spine and lift your second leg (use as much core and arm strength, and as little kick as possible). Once you're up, scissor the inner thighs together and reach up through the tailbone and heels.
7. go down.
Take a few breaths in child's pose. Drop your weight into the floor.
Close your practice with a couple of seated and twist poses.