We humans tend to be creatures of habit. We stick to our routines like clockwork come rain or shine because there’s a comfort to familiarity. However, sometimes it’s worth shifting gear with the seasons to take advantage of the natural vibrancy of spring.
The days are getting longer and the nights are shortening. There is more light, more warmth (sporadically – this is the UK after all), and it’s time to get back to business. So here are our TOP TEN tips for how to infuse your yoga practice with the energy of spring.
1. Rise with the Lark
One of the best ways to take advantage of all this extra light is to try getting up earlier. Although it can feel like every extra second in bed counts, that precious time in the early morning can be a really productive window. Fitting in a home practice can be tricky, it never feels as if there’s enough time in the day, but by setting the alarm for just 20 minutes earlier you can fit in a quick yoga sequence as the birds sing their dawn chorus.
2. Increase Your Practice Time
If you’ve got an established home practice (well done you!) then spring is the time to ask yourself whether you’re really getting the most out of it. Have you got into a rut of squeezing in a quick session without getting into the nitty-gritty? Use the positive growth energy of spring to deepen your practice by making it longer and more thorough.
3. Go for a Dream Pose
Spring into action by setting your sights on a dream pose that you’d like to be able to do, such as the flamboyant
Titthibasana – Firefly pose. Rather than just throwing yourself into the pose, deconstruct the elements of the pose and work on each part, practicing Uttanasana to lengthen the hamstrings, simpler arm balances and handstand to strengthen the arms, and hip openers such as Upavista Konasana.
4. Try New Things
Despite how wonderful yoga is, like anything that we do a lot of, we can start to lose some of our enthusiasm for the subject, especially if it’s become our job too. What better time to try new things than in the spring? Go to a workshop led by a teacher that inspires you, take time out to go for a yoga retreat or try something totally new (like disco yoga!) and remind yourself that it’s ok to have a laugh and hang loose.
5. Take Action
Spring is the time to make decisions you’ve been putting off and then DO something about those decisions! Want to change your yoga classes? Do it! Want to become a yoga teacher? Go for it!
6. Spring Clean Your Yoga
You’ve gone out into the garden (or balcony) and cleared out all the winter detritus that builds up, spring-cleaned the house (opened the windows at least) and now it’s time to do the same for your yoga. Spring cleaning your yoga means letting go of old habits and embracing new goals. Or sometimes just finding that pose that you hate and giving it a good old dose of attention – it’s always the ones you don’t like that are the ones you need to practice.
7. Spring Clean Your Body
Now that Easter’s out the way and you’ve polished off your kids’ eggs in a late-night cupboard raid, it’s time to slim down the winter calories and opt for a lighter diet. In the warmer, lighter months the body doesn’t need as much heavy food, rather opt for whole grains, salads and lighter proteins such as meat or fish.
8. Get Organised
Once you’ve made decisions, spring cleaned and tried new things, it’s time to get organised with your yoga. Do you have so many good intentions that fall by the wayside as obstacle after obstacle seems to block your path to your yoga? Life is busy and there are so many demands on us, but, by getting organised, we can build a routine that supports and makes space for our yoga practice, rather than it being something that can always be dropped.
So, sit down with your diary and put your yoga practice sessions into the diary, in indelible ink. Then once you’ve got your time slots, decide what you’re going to practice in each slot. You might want to put in a restorative practice if you know you’ve got a busy time coming up, or perhaps you have an assessment to plan for. Be specific.
9. Jump for Joy
If you’re an Ashtanga yogi, then jumping is part of your daily practice. However, not all yogis incorporate jumping into their practice, and perhaps even if you are a Mysore practitioner, jumping might not be your favourite thing. There’s something about springing into the air on your two feet that makes you feel like a newborn lamb gallivanting in the fields. If you don’t usually jump, try adding a few jumps into transitions between poses, for example, from Downward Dog to Uttanasana (Standing forward fold).
10. Be Positive
Spring is a time to be a glass-half-full person. Just look around you! The world is blooming and singing with zingy, green colours. Put your darker woollies to the back of your drawers and wear your brightest clothes. Make a list of what makes you happy at the end of each day. Choose a Sankalpa (intention) in your extra early morning slot and decide to be your happiest self today.