A seasonally inspired yin sequence to keep you balanced and well throughout the winter months.
Following Traditional Chinese Medicine, the winter season is associated with the water element. It's a time for slowing down, and a time for deep so rest so that energy can be replenished and preserved. It's a time to look inward and reconnect with ourselves before the rebirth of spring. The organ bodies associated with the water element are the kidneys and urinary bladder, the kidneys and bladder are responsible for water metabolism and maintaining homeostasis (balance). Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that when the water element is out of balance it manifests as fear, anxiety, fatigue, lower back pain, urinary problems, and rigidity.
The kidney meridian starts at the bottom of the feet, travels up the inner ankles, the inner seam of the legs, then runs deep along the lumbar up the mid-section, to the collar bone. The urinary bladder meridian starts at the inner corner of the eye, travels down the nape of the neck, traveling down the back parallel to the spine, along the inner edges of the scapula, to the buttocks, and down the backs of the legs, to the outer edges of the feet.
This sequence is designed to target both the kidney and urinary bladder meridians with postures that elongate, compress, and trace the meridian lines up the body with the intention of balancing fear and anxiety, restoring energy, and turning inward.
How to practice: Hold postures for a minimum of 3 to 5 minutes. Practice with a slow, natural breath. Move through the postures in order, repeat postures 2-4 on the left side of the body before moving onto posture 5. Set an intention of your own, practice with the intention of physically and/or emotionally balancing the kidney and urinary meridians as you move through each of the postures, or simply approach this practice as an opportunity to nurture your body and you emotional self. Trace these meridians in your mind as you move through each shape, return to noticing your breath, and of course, periodically return to your intention.
Butterfly pose. 5 minutes. Soles of the feet come together, knees wide, sits bones anchored to ground or seated on folded blanket. Fold over legs, let arms and shoulder relax, let head hang heavy.
2. Half Happy Baby
Half Happy Baby. 5 minutes. Lay on back, bend both knees bring feet flat. Catch right foot with right hand or a strap, left foot stays flat to floor or left leg extends long. Place blanket or block or cushion under right hip if pose becomes uncomfortable.
3. Supta Padangusthasana
Supta P. 1. 3 min. Extend right leg to ceiling holding onto big toe or wrapping a strap around the right foot. Left knee stays bent or left leg extends long.
4. Supta Padangusthasana 2
Supra P 2. 3 min. From Supta P 1 let right leg fall over to the right. Left leg can stay bent with foot flat to the floor, left leg can extend long, or with left knee bent left leg can fall over to left side of mat for half butterfly leg, as seen pictured above. Support under right hip with blanket, block, or cushion if pose becomes uncomfortable. Return to knees bent, feet flat, and start with half happy baby on the left side.
Sphinx pose 5 min. Lay on your belly, extend legs out long, prop yourself on your elbows, to lessen the backbend either support under the ribs with a rolled blanket.
6. Child's Pose
Child’s pose 5 min. Either coming to the mat with knees together, forehead to the mat, and arms towards feet (pictured above), or with knees wide, forehead to mat, and arms extended to front of mat (not pictured).
7. Easy Twist
Easy twist 5 min. Start laying flat on back with knees to chest, take arms out to either side, drop knees over to right. Hold 5 minutes, repeat other side.
8. Supported Supta Virasana
Supported Supta Virasana 5 min. Sit either between feet or on heels, prop up a firm pillow or bolster and lay back. Feel free to support under hips or take knees wide or prop pillow up higher.
Savasana 8 min. Find a comfortable place in your body and breath and mind to let your practice come to rest. Feel free to lay flat on your back, on your side, or belly, or take a supported variation.