By Amruta Kulkarni, CYT 250
Practicing energizing Yoga asanas during the holiday season will help us to maintain resiliency, both physically and emotionally. The holidays can be a time of joyous celebration. This season can also be challenging for many of us. In the best of times, the frenetic schedule of parties and celebrations may leave us depleted, stressed, and out-of-sorts. In more difficult times, the holiday season may remind us of people and places that we miss dearly. Many energizing Yoga postures are backbends and also open up the heart chakra. Practicing vigorous Sun Salutations and energizing Yoga postures such as Cobra and Camel Pose will help to move stagnant energy and revitalize both the body and mind.
Ashtanga Sun Salutations A and B
Two of the most powerful Yoga vinyasa practices for revitalizing the entire body/mind complex are Sun Salutations A and B as practiced in the Ashtanga Yoga system. There are many other variations of how to link the Sun Salutation poses together in various ways. Some other well-known practices that incorporate vigorous Sun Salutations are Bikram Yoga, Power Yoga of all kinds and Vinyasa Yoga. For more information and instructions, please refer to the many books, DVDs and websites that offer detailed information on this entire series of Sun Salutations.
Cobra Pose is one of the quintessential back bending Yoga asanas. To practice Cobra Pose: Warm-up with several Sun Salutations of your choice and then come to a prone lying position on your mat. Turn your head to one side and rest on your cheek for a few breaths. With your next inhale, bring your hands up to your chest and place them flat on your mat and parallel to the sides of your mat. Slowly raise your torso off the mat. Try to keep your shoulders from creeping up by opening up your throat and heart areas. Also focus on keeping your shoulder blades flat on your back. Hold for three to five breaths and come down slowly. Rest for a few moments on the opposite cheek and repeat two more times.
Camel Pose is a powerful Yoga asana for expanding the entire rib cage, heart and throat area. After warming up with several Sun Salutations of your choice, come to your knees at the front of your Yoga mat. Keep your knees approximately hips’ distance apart from each other. Place your hands facing up on your sacrum or lower back area. With your next exhale; slowly lean backwards against your hands. If you have any neck issues, keep your head straight up. If your neck is fine, you can also lean your head back as you lean your entire torso back against your hands. To come out of Camel Pose, rise back up slowly and rest for several breaths in Extended Child’s Pose.
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