We have had abnormally chilly mornings this past week here in Texas. I recently took a trip to Colorado and got my first real autumn experience as I watched the aspen leaves change more and more with each day we were there. So the weather here at home has been a welcome surprise! There’s something about the changing of the seasons that refreshes my soul. As I watched the leaves change and the temperature drop in the mountains, I was reminded of the natural ebb and flow of life. There are times where everything external changes to some degree. We can either observe and accept the change for what it is or we can resist it and wish we were in the past or the future. It’s a constant struggle for me, but as I stood on solid ground in those mountains – I felt as if God was whispering to me that the internal stays the same. Our hope, sense of purpose and direction are always steady and constant. No matter how much the external is shifting. The question is, what do you consist of internally? What is your source of steadiness and hope? How can you tap into that source as your circumstances change around you? Can you draw a sense of renewal from the change rather than conflict? Just some thoughts to take with you as you face the changing of the seasons.
Anyway, I was inspired by this time away to post a sequence that’s meant to generate trust amidst change and uncertainty. I hope you enjoy!
DANGLING | 5 min | To tap into the idea of change, we start our practice a little less traditionally. Essentially this is your forward fold, with an extended hold. Come to the top of your mat and allow your chest to melt over the thighs. You can place a block or two underneath you for support if needed and you are welcome to bend your knees as much as will make your hamstrings and low back feel better supported.
DRAGONS | 2 min each | From your dangling position, gently lift up halfway and step the left foot to the back of the mat. The first two minutes, plant your hands to the floor or blocks on either side of the foot. Your head can hang here if you’d like. Allow your hips to settle down and forward. The second 2 minutes, rise up to two blocks (one on either side). Allow the weight of your upper body to add to the depth in the hips here. The third 2 minutes, drop both hands to the inside of the right foot. You can start higher and work your way toward the forearms. Don’t rush deeper! Give your body time to release and rest into each burst of intensity.
Transitioning deeply into the hips, we find a lot of sensation and release. This is an area of the body we tend to hold emotional stress from our current state and from past seasons. As sensations arise here, breathe and trust the release to create space within you so you can start this new season with a renewed perspective.
WINGED DRAGON + TWIST | 2 min | For your final two minutes in the lunge position, begin to turn your right foot to the upper right hand corner of the mat, rolling toward the pinky edge of the foot (as long as there’s no pain in the knee). Gently take your right hand to the thigh or you can reach back and grab for your left foot.
SWAN | 5 min | From your lunge, release your right hand back to the floor. Begin to heel toe the right foot across to the left side, setting the shin down. Draw the heel in as close to the groin as needed for comfort in the hips. If you can’t sit evenly from left/right, place a blanket under the right hip to close out space. Gently settle down and forward here allowing the head to hang once you find a good position to land in.
HALF BUTTERFLY | 3 min | From swan, remove the blanket if it’s under your hip. Begin to roll to the outer hip and open out to the long edge of your mat. Draw the left heel in towards the pelvis and release the right leg to straight. Take several moments to fold forward. You can rest your head to a prop if you’d like.
SHOELACE | 3 min | Slowly rise up from your fold. Begin to draw the left knee forward and swing the right leg on top. Walk the heels away from the hips until you find a good amount of sensation. If it’s too much to sit evenly on the hips, simply draw the left leg straight out in front of you and keep the right leg crossed over.
Repeat DRAGONS through SHOELACE on the other side
Gently transition into a table top shape. Take several rounds of cat/cow to loosen up the tissue that surrounds your spine . Also, notice the overall release in the hips. Noticing where mobility might have increased.
NEEDLE | 3 min | From table top, extend the left arm to the sky and begin to twist toward the right by threading the arm across the mat and through to the other side. Allow your head and shoulder to relax to the floor or a prop. Alternatively, you can drop your hips back toward the heels and do this pose in a childs pose variation.
REVERSE NEEDLE | 4 min | Before moving to the other side, begin to make your way to your belly. Extend the left arm out to the side. Plant the right hand under the shoulder and bend the right knee. Slowly and mindfully begin to press yourself to the left side body. You can tap the right toes behind the left leg and either keep your right hand under the shoulder for support or place it behind your back (pictured). Gently ease in and out of this as needed – it can be intense to dig into this part of the shoulders/chest as this is where we hold onto a lot of self-protection and timidity. As your heart opens – allow your breath to carry you through the moments of deep sensation.
Repeat NEEDLE and REVERSE NEEDLE on the other side
SAVASANA | 7-10 min | Gently roll onto your back from your belly. Invite your body and mind into full relaxation here as you surrender to the physical and mental release that your practice has created. Take rest. Place a blanket on top of the hips/belly for extra support and comfort here.